ASB pushes up its earnings

ASB has reported a cash net profit after tax (NPAT) of $822 million for the half year to the end of 2022.

That is an increase of 11% on the prior comparative period.

The result was driven by 4% growth in total lending, with home and business lending up 5% and 6% respectively. It was also helped by a higher net interest rate margin on loans.

The results came against a background of ASB removing a number of charges on personal and business accounts, which will cost it $14 million in the year ahead.

It also comes as many ASB customers will face large interest rate rises this coming year.

Chief executive Vittoria Shortt says the bank has already contacted more than 4,000 home loan customers to explain the options available to mitigate this and has a further 9,000 customers to go.

This advice could include loan restructuring, budgeting help or mentoring.

In its report, ASB said it continued to use the Reserve Bank's Covid-driven Funding for Lending Programme, which wrapped up in December.

ASB said it had committed $5 billion of that money to purpose-led loans since March 2021, including $1.4 billion advanced to customers investing in infrastructure and sustainability projects.

ASB added it had grown its workforce by 1%.

In another part of its results, ASB indicated that Statutory NPAT rose to $840 million, a rise of 10%. This differs from the cash result because it includes things like sales of assets which are outside normal day-to-day business transactions of the bank.

ASB also recorded a slight, 20 point, rise in market share for home loans to 21.6%. There was however a small decrease in market share for customer deposits.

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