5601.0.55.002 - Information Paper: Upcoming changes to Lending to Households and Businesses, Australia, 2019  
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Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to inform users of changes to the ABS publication, Lending to Households and Businesses, Australia (cat. no. 5601.0).

From December 2019, the publication will be based on a new, improved data collection, called the Economic and Financial Statistics (EFS) collection that will enhance the quality of information available. To better reflect the new content, the publication will be renamed Lending Indicators, Australia (cat. no. 5601.0). The first issue of the new publication will contain October 2019 data and will be released on 17 December 2019.

The new publication will include:

  • new data collected for the first time; and
  • data conceptually similar to that published in the existing publication, but with improved quality due to updated reporting instructions and definitions. This will result in level shifts across most series.

Some existing series will no longer be collected and some will be suspended from publication pending further analysis of the newly collected data. Overall, there will be more housing data available in the new publication, Lending Indicators, compared with Lending to Households and Businesses but fewer data items will be available on business loan commitments. The ABS plans to increase the content of this publication over time.

The new Economic and Financial Statistics collection

As part of its role, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) collects data from financial institutions for the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). Some of the forms used to collect data from Authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) and Registered Financial Corporations (RFCs) have not been updated since the early 2000’s. Over the past few years, APRA, the ABS, the RBA and industry have worked together to modernise the collection. This has been a large and complex project, involving considerable collaboration between the three agencies and industry. The new set of forms and related guidance is called the Economic and Financial Statistics collection.

EFS will give better quality data through, for example:
  • much better guidance on what to report, so institutions can provide consistent data
  • updated definitions to align with international standards for compiling economic statistics; and
  • more detailed data on home loans including to investors and first home buyers.

The EFS collection will increase the reliability and accuracy of the data published in Lending Indicators. One of the most important changes is the increased detail and precision in definitions of the data to be reported. These definitions are accompanied by comprehensive guidance to assist ADIs and other reporting institutions provide consistent data.

Reporting on the new forms commenced for July 2019 data for a three month parallel run with the existing collection to allow time to assess the effects of changes in the reporting basis before publishing the new data.

There will be changes to levels and some movements due to clearer reporting guidance on how to report concepts and classifications such as ‘residency’, ‘loan purpose’ and ‘industry’.

Time series

Backcasting

Where new concepts are sufficiently similar to the current concepts, the ABS will produce an historic series back to July 2002 (i.e. a backcast series) and in most cases will produce seasonally adjusted statistics. The levels of the historic series will change due to the improved reporting and updated definitions of concepts.

Newly collected data (the new data items are outlined later in this paper) will not be backcast or seasonally adjusted. Four data points (July 2019 – October 2019) will be available in the December release.

Seasonal adjustment

The approach to seasonal adjustment will be similar to the method used in the existing publication:
  • Detailed series will be directly adjusted. There will be no reconciliation of directly adjusted components with directly adjusted totals and as a result these components will not add to totals in seasonally adjusted terms
  • Indirect adjustment will be applied at a relatively high level, where it can be shown to improve the seasonal adjustment

Data Quality

The changes to the concepts and classifications are significant. There is a high likelihood of revisions in future reporting periods as APRA, the ABS and the RBA continue to work with ADIs and other reporting institutions to ensure consistent reporting that aligns with instructions and definitions, and the impacts on seasonality can be measured. It is expected data quality will continue to improve over time.