Publication Details

This paper was originally published as: Deo, H, Irvine, HJ & Abraham, A, The legitimising power of regulation for Australian banks: an institutional approach, Accounting & Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, July 1-3 2007.


The history of the Australian banking system has been one of a striving for legitimacy, against a cycle of boom, bust and public antagonism. Despite a series of banking inquiries and ensuing regulatory reform, banks continue to announce unexpected results. Over the past 15 years, each of the four major Australian banks, while complying with the increasingly stringent requirements of regulatory bodies, reported at least one major financial blunder. An institutional perspective demonstrates that rules and regulations play a powerful legitimising role in assisting banks to maintain their public image in the face of such disasters.

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AFAANZ Conference