In an address to shareholders given yesterday, a major bank CEO radiated confidence that “there remains an abundance of housing credit available.”
At Commonwealth Bank’s annual general meeting, CEO Matt Comyn informed attendees the bank has lent $92bn to its home loan customers in the last year – outstripping market growth by 30%.
Looking ahead, Comyn expects the rate of growth to improve yet further, even with the growing doubts about the outlook for global growth. The CEO suggested the 75bps the Reserve Bank has cut from the cash rate cut are effectively contributing to a turnaround in the housing market.
“House prices are now rising in Sydney and Melbourne after having fallen for 18 months, and there are encouraging signs that the market has stabilised,” he said.
“While regulatory guidance has increased in recent years for home lending, these changes have improved lending standards across the industry and have further improved the resilience of the financial system.”
Comyn also spoke of the future opportunities presented by the profitability of Australian businesses, currently “around its historical average,” despite challenges felt in certain sector.
“This has enabled most businesses to comfortably meet their debt repayments, and creates the capacity for investment and innovation,” he said.
“We currently lend more than $500m to Australian businesses every week, and have an appetite to do much more.”
According to the CEO, CBA is “very clear” on the steps that must be taken to continue to deliver “in the current economic, regulatory and competitive environment.”
“Our results show the underlying strength of our core business, with home and business lending both up 4%,” he added.
“We have continued to strengthen our balance sheet, have unquestionably strong capital levels, and were able to maintain our $4.31 dividend.”