ANZ profit rises despite flat home loans

ANZ Bank said its full-year cash profit from continuing operations rose 65 per cent to $6.2 billion despite pressure on mortgage growth, boosted by the release of more than $500 million in provisions for bad debts as the economic outlook improves.

The result to the end of September showed its mortgage book has stagnated even though housing markets are rollicking. ANZ sold $3 billion fewer home loans over the half or 1 per cent lower than the first half in the face of heavy discounting from competitors and customers paying down debt faster than anticipated.

Chief executive Shayne Elliott acknowledged the bank had struggled with the spike in home loan applications earlier in the year, as first-home owners rushed to take advantage of low mortgage rates. This created delays in processing times but the bank said it has added additional resources and is confident the worst is behind it.

“We started the year really well in home loans and then, of course, we saw just unbelievable levels of volume across the economy in terms of turnover, people buying and selling houses. Now we didn’t prepare well – and that’s on me,” Mr Elliott said.

“So we struggled a little bit in terms of the volume … the good news there is July was the low point in that and every month since then we’ve been getting better and better and better in terms of our capacity.”

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