Westpac boosts profits as bad debts fall
Westpac New Zealand’s has revealed an $86 million rise in its full-year net profit to $322 million, as loans and deposit book grew and bad debts fell from last year’s peak.
Impairment charges of $347 million for the year to September were $225 million lower than at this time last year as a small number of large problem exposures didn’t reoccur.
The profit improvement was offset to the tune of $97 million by a reduction in customer fees from October 2009, higher funding costs and expenses related to the Christchurch earthquake.
Westpac said the result was a “pleasing turnaround” given the slow economic recovery.
Across the Tasman, Westpac Group this morning revealed full-year earnings for of $6.3 million on cash earnings of $5.9 million.
In New Zealand, business lending increased by a modest 2% during the year, particularly across rural and corporate banking and the northern region.
Mortgage growth of 6% was achieved during the year but consumer lending fell as consumers spent less and higher interest rates made an impact.
Shareholders will be paid a final dividend of 74 cents, bringing total dividend payments for the year to $1.39 – 20% higher than last year.