NAB cuts dividend on 10.6% FY profit drop

NAB will pay a reduced final dividend after its full-year profit dropped 10.6 per cent to $5.1 billion, dragged down by its retail and wealth unit along with $1.1 billion in remediation provisions.

The lender said Thursday it will pay a fully franked final dividend of 83 cents – down from 99 cents a year ago – mirroring the cut to its interim payout in May for a 16 per cent fall in its full-year payout.

Stripping out the cost of customer remediation and a software overhaul, the bank’s profit fell by 8.6 per cent to $8.2 billion as revenue for the 12 months to September 30 fell by 4.2 per cent to $17.2 billion.

In line with its major rivals, NAB cited record low interest rates and a weak operating environment for the “disappointing” result, with its consumer banking and wealth division copping the biggest hit on impairments.

NAB has now provisioned a total $2.1 billion to right past misdeeds including fees for no service and mis-sold credit card insurance, and says it has more than 950 staff working on remediation issues.

Interim chief executive Phil Chronican said NAB’s executive management will receive no short-term bonuses and no raise after what was his last result before handing over to former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Ross McEwan.

“While we have made progress, it is not enough to be recognised in executive short-term variable reward in 2019,” Mr Chronican said on Thursday.

Mr McEwan accepted the role in July after a five-month search prompted by Andrew Thorburn’s resignation following criticism in the financial services royal commission final report.

Mr Chronican will become chairman, replacing Ken Henry, who was also singled out for his role in the bank’s reputational implosion.

NAB’s result missed analyst expectation of a $5.19 billion cash profit and follows disappointing efforts by its major rivals.

ANZ reported a flat full-year profit of $6.47 billion last week and a partially franked dividend for the first time in 20 years, while Westpac on Monday cut its dividend for the first time in a decade as profit dropped 15 per cent to $6.85 billion.

NAB’s net interest margin – the difference between the interest it earns from loans and what it pays to fund them – declined seven basis points to 1.78 per cent.

NAB shares were worth $27.80 before trade on Thursday, up 15.5 per cent for 2019.


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