Better year for ASB Bank as cash profit rises 11.2% to $776m

Barbara Chapman
Barbara Chapman
Steadily improving economic conditions and favourable funding conditions helped ASB Bank report an improved profit for the year ended June.

Chief executive Barbara Chapman said over the course of the financial year, all areas of the business performed well with solid lending growth, particularly among business and rural customers.

The bank, owned by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, reported an operating profit of $1.15 billion for the period, compared with the $1 billion reported in the previous corresponding period.

The after-tax profit rose 14.3% to $806 million from $705 million and the preferred profit measure of banks - the cash profit - rose 11.2% to $776 million from $698 million.

Total income before impairments grew 9.2% to $1.97 billion.

Mrs Chapman said both deposit and lending volumes were positive compared to the previous period.

''The broad momentum has resulted in business and rural lending rising by 8% against the previous financial year, significantly ahead of market.''

Operating expenses rose 4% against the pcp due to a combination of increased costs, including those associated with the move to ASB's new North Wharf headquarters and ongoing investment in IT infrastructure.

Staff numbers remained flat during the year.

The bank's cost-to-income ratio reduced 2% to 38.9%.

Loan impairment expenses remained static at $56 million due to strengthening economic conditions and a robust housing market, particularly in Auckland and Christchurch, she said.

Across the Tasman, CBA reported a slightly disappointing second-half profit, although the annual cash profit was a record, Craigs Investment Partners broker Chris Timms said.

CBA reported a cash profit of $A8.68 billion ($NZ9.56 billion), a 12% increase, and would raise dividends for the year by 10%.

Australia's largest bank delivered full-year earnings broadly in line with analyst expectations, as it painted a cautious outlook for the economy.

The record result was helped by a strong performance in its flagship retail bank, and further reductions in bad debts, Mr Timms said.

CBA will pay a $A2.18 interim dividend, taking the full-year payout to $A4.01 a share, a 10% increase on a year earlier.

Market analysts had expected cash earnings of about $A8.7 billion and a dividend of $A2.14.

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