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Comparing Financial Statements of Banks

Discuss about the Changing Geography of Banking and Finance.

This chapter consist of a thorough review of the existing literatures compiled by the renowned scholars on the subject matter of analysis of the financial statements of the banks. The primary focus of this chapter will be the discussion on the author views about the financial development of the banking system in Australia and Canada. In order to get a detailed conceptual and theoretical foundation for the research, it is essential to review and analyze the existing literatures. The views of authors provide support to the conclusions drawn from the data analysis, thus, carrying out literature review is a crucial exercise in the overall research work (Jesson, 2011). 

In the context developed above, a literature review has been carried out with an objective to find out and analyse the views of the existing literatures on analysis of the financial statements of the banks. In order to make it simple and understandable, the entire discussion of this chapter has been segregated into five major headings. The first heading covers discussion on comparison of the financial statements of the banks. The second heading covers accounting procedures and ratio analysis used by the banks in analysing their financial performance. Further, the discussion has been extended to contribution of Westpac banking corporation in the development of the Australian economy.

Apart from the above, the literature review also covers discussion on the contribution of Bank of Montreal in the economic development of Canada. The chapter of literature review has been ended up with discussion on the types of services provided by the banks their contribution in the overall development of the country followed by conclusion. The hypothesis of this literature review is to test that whether the banking system plays a critical role in the development of the economy of the country or not. In order to test this hypothesis, the two major banks operating in Australia and Canada, USA have been analysed.

In the views of Follett (2011), the comparison of financial statement of two organizations with each other is crucial in assessing the financial performance and position. The major components of the financial statements comprises of balance sheet, profit and loss statement and cash flow statement. Comparing profit and loss statement provides evaluation of the financial performance while comparison of the balance sheet is crucial to assess the financial position (Follett, 2011). However, it is important to note that two things must be comparable that is the base should be equal. In the case of comparison of the financial statements, it should be kept in mind that the financial statements of two companies operating in different countries would be different (Follett, 2011).

Accounting Procedures and Ratio Analysis Used by Banks

As per Pounder (2009), the financial statements are prepared as per the instruction provided in the financial reporting framework prescribed in a particular country, for example, companies in USA follow US GAAP (general accepted accounting principles) and IFRS while in Australia, the companies prepare financial statements based on Australian GAAP along with due consideration to IFRS (Pounder, 2009). Pounder (2009) further states that the differences in the financial reporting frameworks of two countries make the figures in the financial statements incomparable. Thus, in order make it comparable, there should be used analytical tools such as ratio analysis, vertical analysis, horizontal analysis and trend analysis (Pounder, 2009).

As per Greuning and Iqbal (2008), the income statement of two banks operating in two different countries could be better analyzed by performing common size analysis. In this analysis, every item of the income statement is presented as a percentage to the net sales. Taking the items as a percentage of net sales provides a common base which can be use for comparison purposes. Greuning and Iqbal (2008) further states that common size analysis is not only useful in analyzing the income statement but it can also be used in analyzing the balance sheet (Greuning and Iqbal, 2008).

As per Tracy (2012), financial analysis is crucial in determining the financial health of the company. The four core areas of business such as profitability, liquidity, efficiency, and solvency are analyzed using the information provided in the financial statements. Further, it is essential to know that where the company stands in the market place. The analysis of the financial statements through ratio analysis and comparison with the competitors and the industry averages provides evaluation of the standing of company (Tracy, 2012). Since, the banking system plays a pivotal role in the economy development of a country; therefore, it becomes important to analyze the financial performance of banks to have a glimpse of economy soundness in the country.

As per Pounder (2009), the accounting procedures are the policies, provisions and rules that guide the preparation of the financial statements of the companies. As has been stated by Pounder (2009), two companies operating in different countries follow different accounting procedures and policies. Due to different accounting policies and procedures being followed, the figures in the financial statements tend to differ (Pounder, 2009). In comparing the financial statements of two companies, particular when two are situated in different countries, it is essential to make the base equal. This can be achieved by applying various analytical tools as discussed in above section. The ratio analysis is also one of those tools which are applied to make the base equal for comparison purposes (Tracy, 2012).    

In the view of (Tracy, 2012), generally, the ratio analysis covers major areas of financial analysis such as profitability, liquidity, efficiency, and solvency. The leading profitability ratios comprise of net margin, gross margin, return on equity and return on assets. Further, the liquidity ratios, which indicate sufficiency or lack of funds, comprise of current ratio and quick ratio. The ratios such as assets turnover, accounts receivable days, and inventory turnover days indicate the management efficiency in conducting the business operations. Last but not the least; solvency aspect is covered by the ratio such as debt equity ratio and interest times (Tracy, 2012). Solvency depicts capability of the company to pay off long term debt on the due date.

However, in the views of Golin and Delhaise (2013), the financial analysis of banks requires special attention to the areas such as liquidity and capital adequacy. For this purpose, CAMELS Rating System, being recognized worldwide, is considered useful. Six crucial factors such as capital adequacy, asset quality, management, earnings, liquidity, and sensitivity are analyzed in CAMELS Rating System. These six factors cover the business of banks from end to end and provide a comprehensive analysis of the financial performance and position. Therefore, CAMELS Rating System is an added tool that is used by the banks and rating agencies in analyzing financial performance (Golin and Delhaise, 2013).

As per Golin and Delhaise (2013), capital adequacy ratio is computed to evaluate that the bank possesses enough capital to pay off the public deposits and absorb the potential losses. The capital adequacy ratio is computed by dividing the tier-1 and tier-2 capital with risk weighted assets possessed by the bank. The regulations prescribe minimum capital adequacy ratio which the banks operating in that country have to comply with. Further, the CAMELS system provides for measurement of the assets quality, which is carried by computing ratios such as non-performing loans (NPLs) to total loans and NPLs to total equity (Golin and Delhaise, 2013).

The earning ability is analyzed by computing ratios such as net interest income margin, cost to income ratio, and return on assets. Further, the assessment of quality of management is also crucial which is carried out by computing total assets growth, loan growth, and earnings growth. The liquidity is a major concern for any business. It is measured by computing and analyzing the ratio such as Customer deposits to total assets and total loan to customer deposits (LTD) (Golin and Delhaise, 2013).

Petkovski and Kjosevski (2014), has stated based in their research work that the financial sector which includes bank also pays a crucial role in the overall economic growth and development. The banks and capital market are the foundation of every economy. Further, it is perceived that the role of banking and finance sector has increased even more in the recent years in all the countries across the globe. The macro economic factors such as gross domestic product, interest rates, and inflation are the majorly affected by the banking industry (Petkovski and Kjosevski, 2014). Considering these facts, it is essential to analyze the contribution made by one of the Australia’s largest banks namely Westpac Banking Corporation in the economic development.

Westpac Banking Corporation is among the top banks operating in Australia. Primarily, the bank operates in Australia and New Zealand providing a wide range of services in the areas of retail banking, institutional and commercial banking, and wealth management. Westpac is one of the oldest banks in Australia engaged in business since the year 1817 (Westpac, 2016). The bank has grown significantly over the years causing positive impact on the overall economy of Australia. In the year 2014, the company possessed total assets worth A$770 million which shows that significance of the company in the economic development (KangaNews, 2015).                

At present the Westpac group operates in five segments such as consumer bank, business bank, BT financial group, Westpac institutional bank, and Westpac New Zealand. The group has enlarged its size manifold in the recent years. Its consumer bank segment operates with 1429 (Westpac, 2016) branches which depicts its significant contribution to the economic growth. Further, Westpac New Zealand also has grown substantially to have 193 branches in operation (Westpac, 2016). The group’s revenues have been observed to be increasing at a rapid pace in the recent few years. In the year 2012, the revenues of Westpac group were A$16,771 million, which grew to A$20,889 million in the year 2015.

The increase in revenues shows that Westpac has contributed to the gross domestic product of the company significantly. Further, the group has also contributed to the social development by providing employment to the people at a large scale. In the year 2014, the core full time employees of the group were 33,586 (Westpac, 2014), which show significant contribution of the group in the social development in Australia.          

In the views of Goodhart (2004), a sound banking system helps the economy to grow by driving the growth path. Every facet of the economy, for example, productivity, inflation, exports and imports, social development are dependent to a lot extent on the soundness of the banking system (Goodhart, 2004). As per the report of Canadian Bankers Association, the banking and finance and insurances sector contribute approximately 10.30% directly to the gross domestic product (Canadian Banking Association, 2016). In addition to this, the banking and insurance sector also provides employment to the people at a large scale in Canada, which is its indirect contribution to the economic development.

Bank of Montreal, one of the oldest banks of Canada, was established late in the year 1817 (BMO, 2016). The banks grow substantially over the years to provide diversified financial services mainly in the North American region. As per the annual report of the company, there are 45,234 full time employees working with the company and its subsidiaries (BMO, 2016). The size of employees depicts that the bank contributes towards the social development of the country significantly. Further, it has also made direct contributions to the gross domestic product of the country by increasing the productivity levels. The growth in revenues indicates the increased productivity of the company and its increased contribution to the gross domestic product of the country. In the year 2014, the total revenues of the company along with its subsidiaries amounted to $10,997 million, which went up to $12,575 million in the year 2016 (BMO, 2016).

Alessandrini, Fratianni, and Zazzaro, (2009), State that the banking system has gone under changes in the recent years all around the world. It has been observed that the banks have incorporated in their service portfolio, the new and modern services besides the conventional services of accepting deposits and lending money. Now the services provided by the banks extend to the investment banking and portfolio advisory areas (Alessandrini, Fratianni, and Zazzaro, 2009). In respect of Westpac Banking Corporation, it could be observed that the bank started with simply accepting public deposits and lending money. However, at present the company operates through five segments such as consumer bank, business bank, BT Financial group, Westpac institutional bank, and Westpac New Zealand. Through these five segments, the bank provides a wide range of services to its customers.

Few of the leading services provided by the bank include accepting deposit under saving account and term deposits, extending loan under personal loan, home loan, and investment loan. Apart from this, the bank also provides the services of credit card, ATM, Bank guarantee, and investment and financial advisory. Further, the bank also deals with foreign exchange transactions, leasing services, and merchant banking services. Thus, the service portfolio of the bank has grown to a substantial level. In the same way, Bank of Montreal has also modified its service portfolio, now the bank has added services such as cash management, foreign exchange, wealth management, and investment advisory to its service portfolio. Further, the bank has brought out new products for the commercial customers, for example, bank guarantee and bill discounting.    

Conclusion:

The discussion in this chapter is built up on the views of the existing literatures on the subject matter of contribution of the banks in the development of the economy. From the discussion carried out in this chapter, it could be articulated that the banking system is foundation of the economy. The economy can not be viewed as growing in the absence of a sound banking system. The literature review of the existing literatures reveals that the banking system plays a pivotal role in the overall development of the economy. In Canada, the banking and finance and insurance sector contributes approximately 10.30% to the gross domestic product of the country, which indicates its role and importance in the economic development.       

Apart from this, the literature review also covers discussion on the services provided by the banks. From the discussion carried out in this regard, it could be articulated that the service portfolio of the banks have increased substantially in the recent years. The banks have now jumped from providing services on the conventional model to the modern model. The modern model provides for inclusion of more services beside accepting public deposits and lending money to the public. The views of the authors in this regard depicts that the banks have shifted their focus from conventional banking to modern banking, which includes investment banking and advisory services, foreign exchange services, and commercial services such as bank guarantee and leasing.

References

Alessandrini, P., Fratianni, M., and Zazzaro, A. 2009. The Changing Geography of Banking and Finance. Springer Science & Business Media.

BMO. 2016. History of Bank of Montreal. [Online]. Available at: https://www.bmo.com/home/about/banking/corporate-information/history [Accessed on: 13 December 2016].

BMO. 2016. Management’s Discussion and Analysis. [Online]. Available at:  https://www.bmo.com/ir/files/F16%20Files/2016MDA.pdf [Accessed on: 13 December 2016].

BMO. 2016. Statement of Management’s Responsibility for Financial Information. [Online]. Available at:  https://www.bmo.com/ir/files/F16%20Files/2016CFS.pdf [Accessed on: 13 December 2016].

Canadian Banking Association. 2016. Issues Brief: Banks and the Economy. [Online]. Available at: https://www.cba.ca/contributing-to-the-economy [Accessed on: 13 December 2016].

Follett, R. 2011. How to Keep Score in Business: Accounting and Financial Analysis for the Non-Accountant. FT Press.

Golin, J. and Delhaise, P. 2013. The Bank Credit Analysis Handbook: A Guide for Analysts, Bankers and Investors. John Wiley & Sons.

Goodhart, C. 2004. Financial Development and Economic Growth: Explaining the Links. Springer.

Greuning, H.V. and Iqbal, Z. 2008. Risk Analysis for Islamic Banks. World Bank Publications.

Jesson, J. (2011). Doing Your Literature Review: Traditional and Systematic Techniques. London: SAGE.

KangaNews. 2015. Incorporating Australian Securitization and Covered Bond. Australian Securitization Journal, 8(2015), pp. 1-53.

Petkovski, M. and Kjosevski, J. 2014. Does banking sector development promote economic growth? An empirical analysis for selected countries in Central and South Eastern Europe. Journal of Economic Research, 27(1), pp. 55-66.

Pounder, B. 2009. Convergence Guidebook for Corporate Financial Reporting. John Wiley & Sons.

Tracy, A. 2012. Ratio Analysis Fundamentals: How 17 Financial Ratios Can Allow You to Analyze Any Business on the Planet. RatioAnalysis.net.

Westpac. 2014. Annual Report of Westpac Group. [Online]. Available at:  https://vpr.hkma.gov.hk/doc/100167/ar_14/ar_14_eng.pdf [Accessed on: 13 December 2016].

Westpac. 2016. Our Business. [Online]. Available at: https://www.westpac.com.au/about-westpac/westpac-group/company-overview/our-businesses/ [Accessed on: 13 December 2016].

Westpac. 2016. Our History. [Online]. Available at: https://www.westpac.com.au/about-westpac/westpac-group/company-overview/our-history/ [Accessed on: 13 December 2016].

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