The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) is examining whether the insurers, banks, and pension funds it oversees have a contingency plan in place for a potential coronavirus pandemic, which threatens the stability of economic and financial systems.
Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there is every sign that coronavirus will become a global pandemic, with Canberra activating emergency measures to stop the spread of the deadly disease.
APRA said it had contacted its regulated entities to ensure they had adequate plans in place as well as “to gain a deeper understanding of current or potential future impacts on their businesses related to coronavirus,” Reuters reported.
A spokesman for Westpac said the bank assured the prudential regulator it had “a pandemic plan that meets the expectations,” including “business continuity plans and risk mitigation strategies.” Westpac also barred travel to China for business purposes.
A spokesman for ANZ said the bank was planning to “ensure the safety of ANZ staff and to enable banking services to be continued as far as is practicable.” This plan includes “teams being split and working in alternate locations to prevent potential spread.” ANZ also restricted international travel to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia said it had been following the advice from the government to help the country deal with the ongoing impact of the outbreak.
A spokeswoman for National Australia Bank said the bank had plans in place “to respond to coronavirus” but didn’t say what those plans were. She also said NAB bankers are providing assistance and advice to business customers who have been financially affected, Reuters reported.