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ANZ first-half earnings rise 24pc

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/05/2017 Paul McBeth

ANZ New Zealand, the local unit of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, lifted first-half earnings 24 per cent on a modest pick-up in the lender's banking business and strong trading conditions from its institutional arm.

Cash profit, the preferred earnings measure for the Australian-owned banks, rose to $928 million in the six months ended March 31 from $815m a year earlier, the lender said in a statement.

Net profit rose 14 per cent to $869m. The New Zealand banking business posted a 2 per cent gain in earnings to $717m, while the institutional business almost doubled earnings to $198m joining a groupwide gain in that division that's shed an eighth of its workforce to cut costs.

ANZ's New Zealand banking division expanded its loan book 4 per cent to $114.7 billion, led by a 7 per cent increase in mortgage lending to $70.44b, while customer deposits grew 8 per cent to $82.24b.

"All our business units performed well in this half due to our continued simplification of the business," ANZ New Zealand chief executive David Hisco said.

"We've boosted our focus on digital innovation which has positioned us well for a period of rapid change in banking."

ANZ reported a groupwide 23 per cent increase in cash profit to A$3.41b as it slashed 14 per cent from its operating expenses, in part by changing the way it accounted its software capitalisation the year earlier, and by cutting its workforce by 6 per cent.

The New Zealand unit's credit impairment charges fell 20 per cent to $40m with improvements in the bank's commercial and agricultural portfolios, while the lender's local banking division trimmed headcount by 2 per cent to 6250.

Including the New Zealand institutional business, staff numbers fell 4 per cent to 7761 on this side of the Tasman.

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