The sentiment that “all banks are the same” is behind the inertia that
sustains the Australian banking oligopoly. A similar attitude might as
well inform investment choices among the four big banks, because, over
many years, no one bank — ANZ, Commonwealth, National or Westpac — has
reliably outperformed or underperformed the bank index.

But are they all the same? And what if times get tough in the banking business — who are the tough who’ll get going?

  • ANZ Bank is the best. It has nurtured a new team of executives that contains fewer outside recruits than other banks.
  • Westpac has not managed to retain all its best talent but is a worthy number two.
  • Commonwealth Bank can only be rated third. Its board lacked the
    confidence in its own management to promote one of them to succeed
    managing director David Murray.
  • National Australia Bank ranks fourth. Its management has been
    fractured, is mostly new, and executives in key posts are inexperienced.

The full story appears in Eureka Report, Alan Kohler’s new online investment information service. Go to for a free trial.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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