LVR restrictions a significant change: ASB
Loan-to-value speed limits, if implemented as the Reserve Bank has indicated, would present quite a step change for any bank, says ASB chief executive Barbara Chapman.
Wednesday, August 14th 2013, 4:38PM
ASB has announced a record net profit after tax (NPAT) of $705 million for the year ended June 30. The cash NPAT was $699 million, 12% up on the previous year.
ASB grew lending in the year to June by $4.724 billion, or 9%, to $57.726 billion, and deposits by $2.314 billion, or 6%, to $41.289 billion.
Profit was boosted by an interest rate margin lift from 2.16% to 2.25%.
But Chapman said that was not an indication that customers were not pushing as hard as they had previously for cheaper interest rates. “It’s still very competitive.”
She said changes to banks’ core funding ratios had eroded margins, which had since returned to normal. The cost of liquid assets had also dropped. But she said more people were now taking fixed interest rates, which had less of a margin in them for the bank.
“The trend is back to fixing. Customers think at some stage interest rates must rise. We think that’s probably not until the first quarter of next year but customers are being cautious.”
She said the bank was waiting to see what the final loan-to-value speed limit would be, but the 12% the Reserve Bank had indicated would be a significant change.
ASB’s lending growth had been partly driven by a renewed focus on customer service and good performance from Sovereign home loans, offered through a third-party network.
The bank also reported 22% growth in its wealth and insurance businesses.
Chapman said the integrated wealth and insurance team was focussed on developing simple, innovative products for customers. “We have further developed our private wealth offering and consolidated our position as New Zealand’s largest bancassurance provider.”
She said insurance was often a cross-sell across other products, so when there was strong growth in lending there was also growth in other products. Video phones in branches that allowed customers to communicate with insurance specialists had worked well, she said.
Although ASB has the Sovereign channel with advisers, she said the bank would continue to take a proprietary approach to insurance distribution. “The thing about insurance is that it’s often linked to other things, to bring the conversation together is beneficial.”
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