Major's home loans up 5%

by Calida Smylie05 May 2014
Westpac’s housing loans in Australia have increased by 5% over the six months to the end of March, its half-yearly results show.

The bank announced its results on the ASX this morning, showing a net profit of $3,6222 million, up 10% on the prior corresponding period.

It reported cash earnings of $3,772 million, up 8%, and core earnings of $5,784 million, up 5%.

AFS mortgage growth increased at 0.9x system in the March quarter, the report said. Personal lending rose by 21% and business lending increased by 5%.

Westpac CEO Gail Kelly said the result was driven by a strong operating performance from each division, supported by improvement in asset quality.

“I am pleased with this result and the momentum we have built across the group. It is a strong performance and reflects the consistent execution of our strategy, which has customers at its centre.”

Kelly said Westpac has provided more than $41 billion in new lending to Australian retail and business customers over the past six months to March.

In this period, Westpac completed its acquisition of some Australian businesses from Lloyds, with the corporate loan and equipment finance books adding around $1.3 billion to the Westpac institutional banking portfolio, and contributing $6.3 billion, or 4%, to St. George lending.  

However, the Westpac Institutional Bank delivered cash earnings of $752 million, down $33 million or 4% on the prior corresponding period.

The St. George Banking Group of St. George, BankSA, Bank of Melbourne and RAMS delivered cash earnings of $772 million, up 12%.

Kelly said she is positive about the second half for Westpac. “Our focus on tilting to growth is delivering, and this is expected to continue into the second half of the year. We also expect to see further benefits from our simplification and productivity programmes.”

The bank has increased the fully franked interim dividends by four cents per share on the prior corresponding period to 90 cents per share.

Another bank to release a half-yearly report to the ASX was Macquarie Group, which posted a stronger than expected result on Friday.

It had a 49% increase in annual earnings to $1.265 billion, which was 5% ahead of the consensus.

Macquarie's Australian mortgage portfolio grew 47% to $17 billion for the year ended March 31, representing 1% of the Australian mortgage market.

Its best result since the financial crisis shows how Macquarie’s model has changed to depend on its top-performing funds business. It now has $427 billion in assets under management.

Chairman Kevin McCann, who was widely expected to step down this year, has decided to seek re-election at the next annual general meeting.


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