RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Australia

Aussie banks want foreign rivals to also face the $4.6b tax

But they have agreed the levy won't threaten the financial system.

Australia's five biggest banks on Friday agreed a surprise $4.6 billion tax can be absorbed without damaging the stability of the country's financial system or pushing lenders to move overseas, but have asked that foreign rivals face the same levy, according to a report by Reuters.

"Banks have criticized the tax as unfair since its unveiling last month, but executives on Friday told lawmakers they agreed with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority's assessment that it would not threaten the financial system. The lenders also pressed for legislation to be amended to include foreign banks, such as HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBA.L) and Citigroup Inc (C.N), to help them stay competitive in low-profit margin markets such as trade finance and bond trading," Reuters said.

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