SYDNEY, Australia (10/15/08)--The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) is putting pressure on the country’s credit unions to lift their liquidity levels in a move to reinforce the country’s $65 billion industry buffer against ramifications from the global financial crisis. APRA approached several institutions last week in advance of the government’s weekend announcement of deposits and wholesale funding guarantees that also cover credit union and building societies (The Australian Oct. 15). A building society is a financial institution, owned by its members, that offers banking and other financial services, especially mortgage lending. APRA is believed to have asked some of the country’s regulated entities to increase liquid assets--funds that can be converted to cash within days--to 15% from the previous 13% of total assets. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) reported that the country’s banking system maintained well-capitalized with the aggregate capital ratio standing at 10.6% as of the end of June. Also, RBA said the credit union sector remains well-capitalized, with an aggregate capital ratio of 16.5%. About 4.5 million Australians are members of credit unions or building societies.