8 May 2014

BNZ reports major profit increase

1:35 pm on 8 May 2014

The Bank of New Zealand has reported a 32 percent jump in first half net profit largely due to improved revenue and charges against profit for bad loans.

The bank made $393 million in the six months to March, compared with $298 million for the same period last year.

BNZ said the result came despite increased regulation, strong competition and unexpected costs relating to the Wellington earthquakes last winter.

The cash earnings of the bank, which is owned by National Australia Bank, rose by $13 million to $400 million.

BNZ said it increased its market share in deposits by 20 basis points with growth of $4.6 billion, more than 12 percent in the latest six months.

Outgoing chief executive Andrew Thorburn says over the last three years, BNZ has pursued a strategy of growing customer deposits to reduce its reliance on wholesale funding.

Strong business lending improved its average lending volumes by $3.1 billion to $62.5 billion for the period, with steady growth in institutional banking and agribusiness.

The bank says momentum in its housing lending was influenced by the new Reserve Bank restrictions on lending to people with small deposits as well as strong competition.

It didn't say whether housing lending rose or fell.

Net interest margin fell by six basis points to 2.34 percent, largely due to more people switching to fixed-rate mortgages.