Westpac Bank posts 14 pct profit hike to $6.7B
SYDNEY (AP) — Westpac Banking Corp., one of Australia’s largest banks, on Monday reported a 14 percent rise in its annual profit to 7.1 billion Australian dollars ($6.7 billion), saying it was poised to benefit from increased lending in the current fiscal year.
The result for the year through September built on profit of AU$6.6 billion for the previous fiscal year.
Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly said she hoped a recent improvement in Australian consumer confidence would translate into higher lending activity in the current year, particularly in the most populous state, New South Wales.
“We will continue to remain disciplined due to global uncertainty and structural change in the Australian economy, however I’m encouraged by signs of improving confidence which we expect to lead to increased lending activity, in particular in New South Wales, and a gradual increase in domestic credit growth,” she said.
“Given our domestic franchise, we’re well positioned to benefit from the pick up as confidence returns,” she added.
The Sydney-based bank is the latest of Australia’s four biggest banks to post hefty profits in recent weeks for the latest year.
The Australian banking sector is relatively well regulated and the banks proved resilient through the global economic crisis.