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ASB Bank lending growth modest in March quarter, margins remain under competitive pressure

ASB Bank, the New Zealand unit of Australia's largest home lender, had "modest" lending growth in the latest quarter with margins still capped by competitive pressure.

"The New Zealand economy continued to gain momentum as strong demand for commodity exports and construction growth drove improved activity across a broad range of sectors," ASB's Sydney-based parent Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in a statement on activity in the three months to March 31. "ASB lending growth for the quarter was modest, with margins remaining under competitive pressure and a continued customer preference for fixed-rate lending."

ASB retail deposits grew faster than the market as a whole, the bank said. It didn't provide further details on the New Zealand unit.

Meantime, Commonwealth Bank said its third-quarter cash profit rose 16 percent to A$2.2 billion and its net interest margin, a measure of lending profitability, was "marginally lower" as it increased its liquid assets.

CBA's shares rose 0.7 percent to A$80.48 on the ASX.

(BusinessDesk)