Cash profit for the six months to March 31 rose 2 per cent from $3.49 billion a year earlier, although the rise was 22 per cent if the wealth and insurance businesses it has agreed to sell to IOOF and Zurich are included.
Operating income fell 0.7 per cent to $9.75 billion, and chief executive officer Shayne Elliott warned tough conditions would continue as Australia’s property market sagged and demand for home loans was significantly reduced.
“While our performance this half was solid, there are headwinds facing the sector, and we are taking appropriate action,” Mr Elliott said.
“Retail banking in Australia will remain under pressure for the foreseeable future.”
But Mr Elliott admitted the bank had maybe been too cautious as it tightened the mortgage purse strings against a backdrop of regulatory intervention, royal commission scrutiny of lending standards and falling house prices.
“While our decision to step back from certain segments compounded this impact, being more risk averse in the current environment is prudent,” Mr Elliott said.
“However, we do accept we could have done a better job implementing our new risk settings and are taking steps to improve processes.”
ANZ held its interim dividend at 80 cents, fully franked.
ANZ’S SOLID FIRST HALF
• Cash profit from continuing operations up 2 per cent to $3.57 billion
• Cash profit including discontinued operations up 22 per cent to $3.51 billion
• Cash operating income down 1 per cent to $9.75 billion
• Net profit down 5 per cent to $3.17 billion
• Interim dividend flat at 80 cents, fully franked.