5 Nov 2012

Westpac Bank profit up

12:28 pm on 5 November 2012

Westpac Bank has lifted its full year profit by a fifth, due to a drop in bad debts and rise in income.

Excluding one-off charges and unrealised items, the bank made cash earnings of $707 million in the year to September, an increase of 22% compared with the previous year.

Radio New Zealand's business editor says major banks have enjoyed strong earnings and Westpac is no exception.

The subdued recovery is helping to reduce the amount of money set aside for potential bad loans, falling 21% to $191 million, while overdue loan repayments fell as a proportion of its total loan book.

Westpac's income also rose, by 7% to $2 billion.

Net interest margin - which measures the profitability of its loans - rose 8 basis points to 2.72% due to customers switching from fixed to floating mortgage rates, while it sold more insurance and wealth products.

Lending increased 3% to 59 billion, due to an increase in mortgage and business loans, while deposits rose 11% to $42 billion.