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BNZ keeps interest margins "broadly stable"

Tuesday 7th February 2012

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Bank of New Zealand, the local unit of National Australia Bank, reduced impairment charges on bad debts and kept its interest rate margins “broadly stable” in the final three months of last year.

The lender reduced the ratio of 90-plus days past due and gross impaired loans and acceptances to 1.4 percent as at Dec. 31 from 1.51 percent three months earlier, NAB said in a statement to the ASX. BNZ booked a $151 million charge on impaired loans in the year ended Sept. 30.

“The charge for bad and doubtful debts has decreased reflecting a reduction in specific provision charges,” the bank said.

The New Zealand unit’s revenue was “supported by higher fee income and increased sales of risk management products for business banking customers,” it said.

Net interest margin was “broadly stable” in the three month period, indicating it will be little changed from the 2.3 percent flagged at the end of September.

“New Zealand banking continued to deliver solid performance reflecting its ongoing focus on deposit growth and strong cost discipline in a slowly recovering economy,” NAB said.

The parent group reported first quarter cash earnings of A$1.4 billion and net profit of A$1.6 billion.

NAB chief executive Cameron Clyne said the bank is started a strategic review for its UK banking unit to “appropriately reposition its business mix and structure for the changed economic environment and improve returns.”

NAB shares rose 1.8 percent to A$24.17 in trading on the ASX yesterday.


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