5601.0.55.003 - Information Paper: Impacts of forthcoming changes to Lending Indicators, 2019  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/12/2019  First Issue
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Introduction

The first release of Lending Indicators (cat. no. 5601.0) on 17 December 2019 will be based on improved data from a new collection known as the Economic and Financial Statistics (EFS) collection. This replaces the previous publication Lending to Households and Businesses. Previously, data was sourced from the ‘domestic books’ collection which had not been updated since the early 2000s. This change was discussed in an earlier information paper (Information Paper: Upcoming changes to Lending to Households and Businesses, Australia, 2019 (cat. no. 5601.0.55.002)).

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). 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.

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.

This paper summarises at a high level the indicative impact of the new and improved EFS collection compared to the domestic books collection on key statistics for housing, personal and business finance. It also discusses changes to the presentation of key statistics that will be published for the first time in the October 2019 issue of Lending Indicators.

Data Quality Note

There have been extensive and ongoing discussions with lenders on the EFS collection. However, only four reporting periods will have been collected on the new basis when Lending Indicators is published for the first time. Data quality is therefore expected to continue to improve over time as lenders become accustomed to the new reporting basis and further refine the data they report. This process is likely to lead to revisions, including to the historical time series.

Backcasted data to July 2002 is included for some data series. The historical time series data should be used with caution, particularly lower level series that are more volatile. This data is modelled using the change in reporting observed during July 2019 to September 2019, where the new and old collections were conducted in parallel. Consequently, the historical time series should be viewed as analytical series only to help in interpretation of data reported on the new EFS basis.

Change in coverage and the introduction of reporting thresholds

There is a change in coverage in the new collection which, all other things being equal, will result in a fall in the level of all data when comparing between the old and the new basis. The lenders that contribute to Lending Indicators comprise 95% of all outstanding housing, business and personal credit as reported on the relevant form (ARF 720.1). The previous collection had a higher level of coverage. This change was made to reduce the reporting burden for smaller lenders.

The impact of the coverage change is less coverage of new loan commitments for small lenders in Australia. This is unlikely to significantly impact the month on month movements, but will reduce the levels of data reported.