The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has reportedly ordered local banks to report on their exposure to cryptocurrency transactions in the wake of recent banking collapses, including the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Silvergate failures. The regulator is seeking to obtain more information and insight into banking exposures to crypto assets and associated risks.
According to the Australian Financial Review, the APRA has instructed banks to improve their reporting on crypto assets and provide daily updates to the regulator. The agency has started requesting banks to declare their exposures to startups and crypto-related companies, citing three people familiar with the matter. The new measures are reportedly part of the APRA’s increased supervision of the banking sector, aimed at mitigating the risk of similar collapses occurring in Australia’s banking system.
The move comes in the aftermath of the collapse of global banks, including Credit Suisse and SVB, which have raised concerns over the stability of the financial system. On March 19, UBS Group agreed to buy Credit Suisse for $3.2 billion after the latter collapsed over the weekend. The banking sector has been facing pressure from investors and regulators to improve risk management and transparency.
Barrenjoey analyst Jonathan Mott reportedly warned that while the situation “remains stable” for Australian banks, confidence could be quickly disrupted, putting pressure on bank margins. The APRA’s increased scrutiny of cryptocurrency transactions is aimed at mitigating this risk, as the regulator seeks to gain a deeper understanding of the potential impact of crypto assets on the stability of the banking system.
The Australian government has been taking a cautious approach to regulating the cryptocurrency industry, with the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) recently stating that it has no plans to issue a digital version of the Australian dollar. However, the APRA’s move to increase reporting requirements on crypto assets suggests that regulators are taking a more active role in monitoring the sector.
In conclusion, the APRA’s decision to order local banks to report on cryptocurrency transactions reflects the growing concern over the potential risks posed by crypto assets to the stability of the banking system. While the situation in Australia remains stable, the recent collapses of global banks have highlighted the need for improved risk management and transparency in the financial sector. The APRA’s increased scrutiny of the crypto industry is a step towards achieving this goal, as regulators seek to gain a deeper understanding of the potential impact of crypto assets on the stability of the financial system.