SBS bank raises profits

SBS Bank has reported improved earnings helped by profitable work with first home buyers.

It unveiled an operating surplus of $61.3 million for the year ending March, up from $55.2 million the previous year.

The bank’s lending rose $365 million to $4.4 billion during the period.

The result included the input of subsidiaries including the financial advice firm FANZ Private Wealth and the personal and business loans company Finance Now.

SBS Bank chairman Joe O’Connell attributed the better result to several factors including better earnings from interest payments.

Another factor was the bank's push towards a focus on first home buyers via its FirstHome Combo scheme which was launched last August.

This programme includes several cash payments along with a special loan for first home buyers, which had an interest rate of 3.49% as at early June.

This scheme was partnered with Kainga Ora's Homes and Communities programmes which aimed to help people into home ownership.

As with other banks, the impact of this was constrained by a low level of assistance from Kainga Ora - $10,000 towards a house costing 50 times that and more.

But the bank's group chief executive Mark McLean said the programme was still working well, and comprised a big share of the bank's total lending.

“Our new first home lending was 34% of our total new home lending, with Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities accounting for 47% of new lending on first homes,” he said.

“We’re delighted that, despite the challenges of Covid-19 and the housing market, we’ve been able to help more than 850 first home buyers into their homes between April 1 2021 and March 31 2022.”

In another development, 85% of new first home buyers were located outside of Southland.

And in another move, SBS announced a new 12 month term investment rate of 4.00% p.a.

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