The National Australia Bank has warned everyday Australians will be affected by a levy on major banks announced in the Federal Budget on Tuesday night.
NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn said “it is not just a tax on a bank. It is a tax on every Australian who benefits from and is part of our industry”.
Mr Thorburn went on to say 10 million NAB customers would be among those affected, in the biggest indication yet that the costs of the levy will be passed on to borrowers.
He added that 570,000 direct NAB shareholders, plus suppliers, NAB staff and the “millions of Australians who own shares in NAB through superannuation” would also be affected.
“This tax is borne by these people,” Mr Thornburn said.
“A tax cannot be absorbed,” he said. “It is not possible to impose a tax without an impact on people and therefore the wider community.”
He said the bank would remain focused on supporting its customers while it waited for further information on the tax.
Commonwealth Bank CEO Ian Narev said his company would take some time to work through the implications of the levy, but also warned that “every extra cost needs to be borne by customers or shareholders, or a combination of both.”
The Federal Government levy aims to raise $6 billion from lenders with more than $100 billion in liabilities
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Earlier, the Turnbull government warned the big banks not to lie to their customers if they pass on a new $6 billion levy.
There are suggestions the banks may move quickly to raise mortgage rates by up to 0.15 per cent to compensate for the budget measure.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that would be unwise.
“That would be really excessive,” he told Sky News on Wednesday, noting there was already a lot of concern about the conduct of banks.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would be watching them “very, very carefully indeed”.
Under new measures, banks with liabilities of more than $100 billion — Westpac, ANZ, Commonwealth, National Australia Bank and Macquarie Group — will be slugged 0.06 per cent on those liabilities each year from July.
Mr Turnbull said the levy would raise $6 billion over the next four years. “That will assist us in bringing the budget back into balance and ensuring that our children and grandchildren are not burdened with a mountain of debt.” Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson said banks already were on the nose around the country.
“In the court of public opinion if this [levy cost] goes straight to their profits and they charge the Australian people they’re going to stink even more,” he told reporters.