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ANZ National lending falls in 1Q, deposits grow

Friday 17th February 2012

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ANZ National Bank, New Zealand’s biggest lender, reported a fall in lending volumes in the final three months of 2011, even as it grew its deposit book.

Australian parent, Australia & New Zealand Banking, said its New Zealand business reported a 0.7 percent fall in lending volumes in the three months ended Dec. 31, and 2.4 percent growth in deposits. That lagged behind the group-wide 2 percent growth in both lending and deposits.

Group profit before provisions rose 6 percent to A$2.3 billion on a 5 percent lift in revenue to A$4.3 billion, The Melbourne-based bank reported today. It took a A$239 million charge on providing for impaired assets, and expects this year’s provisioning to be about the same level or slightly lower than 2011. Net profit was A$1.48 billion.

“There will not be a return to the level of credit growth that banks experienced pre-crisis for the foreseeable future, particularly in our major domestic markets in Australia and New Zealand,” chief executive Mike Smith said in a statement. “To meet the emerging challenges in the Australian and New Zealand economies while continuing to support our customers, we are creating a more efficient and more innovative business.”

The bank said its ‘business simplification programme’ has stripped out some early costs in New Zealand without denting customer satisfaction, and the shift for its National Bank and ANZ brands to a single information technology platform is expected to be completed this year at a cost of about A$90 million.

Last month, ANZ scotched suggestions it might axe New Zealand jobs as part of its cost-cutting programme, and earlier this week the bank said it would shed 1,000 Australian staff this year.

ANZ’s margins in New Zealand improved in the period, although group margins fell 1 basis point from the previous half due to pressure in Australia.

The Australian bank’s shares were unchanged at $27.45 on the NZX.

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