ANZ Bank full-year cash profit rises 18% as bad debts fall

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The ANZ Bank posted a 18% rise in annual cash profit to $6.94 billion as the bank restructures its business, bringing down costs for the first time since 1999. The bank's net profit rose a more modest 15 percent to $1.78 billion, which included fair value losses on financial instruments and insurance policy valuations.

ANZ Banking Group chief executive Shayne Elliott says the lender is watching its mortgage book "like a hawk" for signs of stress as households rack up record debt to meet rising house prices.

"We have reduced the number of products from nearly 350 in 2012 to offer fewer than 90 in 2017, improving staff efficiency and making life simpler for them and our customers", Hisco said. ANZ shares fell 1.3% to $30.13.

This morning a research note out of Citi revealed that its analysts have downgraded the bank?s shares following its full-year results release yesterday.

ANZ said its credit-impairment charge for the year was reduced by 38% to A$1.2 billion, though its net interest margin contracted to 1.99% from 2.07% the year before.

There were still questions around revenue growth in the industry at this point in the cycle, Elliott said, and ANZ was committing resources toward preparing for that.

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ANZ reached the in-principle settlement on Monday and said it would disclose the amount in its full-year results.

"[It's] tough times, but that's exactly why we're in this transformation phase".

"Although we had a strong business, the external environment was changing faster than we were and our customers, the community and our shareholders expected much more from us". ANZ reported $278 million in restructuring expenses for the year.

A final fully franked dividend of 80 cents a share, a payout ratio of 68% of cash profit, was declared.

The equivalent of more than 1600 full-time staff were cut from the bank in the past year, mostly in its offshore Asia retail and Pacific division and mostly due to asset sales.

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