ANZ National's bad loan provisions soar

New Zealand’s largest bank, ANZ National Bank, saw its fourth quarter profits slump sharply as its provisions for impaired loans nearly doubled in the three months ended September.

Sunday, November 30th 2008, 11:20PM

by Jenny Ruth

The bank’s share of the mortgage market also slipped in the quarter.

ANZ’s September quarter general disclosure statement (GDS) shows provisions for impaired loans rose to $302 million compared with $167 million at the end of June and with just $74 million in September last year.

That cut fourth quarter net profit to just $203 million, down 36.6% from $320 million in the third quarter of last year.

Annual net profit for the year ended September was only marginally lower than the previous year at $1.16 billion.

ANZ’s mortgage book grew $112 million to $49.62 million during the September quarter, well below the $400 million growth shown in the June quarter.

Using Reserve Bank figures as a proxy for the market, its market share fell to 32.38% from 32.55% in June and from 32.72% at the end of March.

The Reserve Bank figures show total mortgage lending by registered banks grew $1.24 billion to $153.27 billion in the three months ended September.

ANZ bank had a further $5.4 billion in mortgages off-balance sheet at September 30, down $242 million from June 30. These are generally loans approved but not drawn.

ANZ announced last week it in general no longer accept any mortgage applications for more than 80% of a property’s worth, meaning borrowers will need at least a 20% deposit.

The bank’s GDS shows 26.4% of its total mortgage book, or $14.04 billion, had loan-to-value ratios (LVRs) above 80% at September 30, down from 26.6%, or $13.14 billion at June 30. In particular, the percentage of its book with LVRs above 90% has shrunk from 13.6% at March 31 to 12.3% at September 30.

In its March GDS, its first under the new Basel ll banking rules, the bank said the valuations it uses for each loan are discounted from registered valuers’ assessments. Where it is unable to establish LVRs, ANZ also classes those loans in the above 90% category "to maintain a conservative treatment."

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