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Bank of NZ boosts annual earnings on fatter margins, fewer bad debts

Thursday 27th October 2011

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Bank of New Zealand, the local unit of National Australia Bank, boosted annual cash earnings by 17 percent on the back of fatter interest margins from floating mortgages and fewer bad debts.

Cash earnings were $612 million in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, up from $524 million a year earlier, according to parent NAB’s annual result. Net interest income rose 7.4 percent to $1.32 billion with margins up 14 basis points to 2.3 percent.

The lender cut its impairment charge on bad loans by 19 percent to $151 million in the period.

“The favourable portfolio mix from customers’ continued preference for variable rate product, as well as repricing of the asset portfolio, helped support the net interest margin during the year,” the company said.

“Margin pressure has however continued from growing retail deposits in a very competitive market and increasing the term profile of wholesale funding.”

The result comes after the Reserve Bank held the official cash rate at 2.5 percent amid fears the European sovereign debt crisis will push the worldwide economy into another downturn and sap the local recovery.

The bank’s total assets rose 0.7 percent to $58.1 billion in the year, while retail deposits climbed 9.9 percent to $31.1 billion. It boosted its share of agribusiness by 1.3 percentage points to 20.5 percent of the market, and attracted 16.2 percent of the housing market from 15.8 percent a year ago.

BNZ said it’s still cautious about the impacts of the February earthquake in Canterbury and is closely monitoring the adequacy of its provisioning.

NAB reported a 24 percent increase in net profit to A$5.22 billion on net interest income of A$13.01 billion. BNZ contributed 8.6 percent of the group’s cash earnings, down from 9.1 percent a year earlier.

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