Margin lending down, margin calls up

Margin lending continues to contract in Australia as investors seek to deleverage their portfolios. Margin loans outstanding were 12 per cent down in the first three months of the year according to data from the Reserve bank of Australia.

Commonwealth Bank is the biggest margin lender with 30 per cent of the market through its CommSec and Colonial Geared Investment brands.

Westpac is second with 23 per cent of loans. Westpac reported last week that its' investment loan book had shrunk by 39 per cent in the year to March.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank is the third largest lender with 20 per cent of the market after acquiring Macquarie Investment Lending last year.

There were about 1,000 margin calls per day made during the March quarter, down from about 2,000 calls per day during December 2008.

Source: The Australian Financial Review