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ANZ profit soars with the help of a $500m 'rainy day' fund

Business

ANZ has produced a booming half year profit of $2.9 billion, an increase of 45 per cent last year’s result.

 

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Shareholders will benefit with a dividend of 70 cents a share, double last year’s payout when banks were forced to scale back their returns.

The bank’s profit was helped by the release of $500 million in provisioning, which was money set aside to deal with the pandemic and not needed.

ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott said it was a good result for the time, but stressed that the profit was still below that of a few years ago.

He accepted that one of the real reasons the result looked good was the provisioning release. ANZ also retains $4.3 billion in reserve if conditions deteriorate.

The cash profit was $3.9 billion and ANZ moved to third place in the home lending market with about 92,000 new home loan accounts during the six months. Operating revenue was down 6 per cent to $8.3 billion.

“While many households and businesses are still doing it tough, Australia and New Zealand are emerging from the sharpest contraction in economic activity in a generation quicker and stronger than many believed possible,’’ Elliott said.

“There is still significant uncertainty. You only need to look at ho the pandemic is playing out overseas, as well as recent lockdowns, to realise how quickly the situation can escalate.’’

He said the bank was in a strong position financially and operationally. Costs were also down.

Elliott said deposits performed well with customers building solid savings and offset balances.

The institutional business suffered from lower interest rates and the lower volatility in markets.

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