19 Feb 2019

Heartland Bank first-half profit rises to $33.1m

10:46 am on 19 February 2019

Financial services company Heartland Bank has reported a modest lift in its first-half profit driven by increased lending.

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Heartland Bank's net profit for the first half of the financial year was $33.1m. Photo: 123RF

The company, which specialises in reverse mortgages, finance for businesses, cars and livestock, and the Harmoney loan platform - had a net profit of $33.1 million compared with $31.1m last year.

Strongest growth was in its Australian reverse mortgage business, business lending, car finance, and the Harmoney personal lending platform

The company's lending book grew more than 11 percent to $4.2 billion.

Heartland's margins were squeezed slightly, and its bad debts rose largely because of accounting rule changes, but its cost of doing business fell.

Chief executive Jeff Greenslade said it will be targeting its New Zealand banking operations, Australian reverse mortgages, and digital trading platforms.

"More resources will be dedicated to these areas to unlock these opportunities while maintaining a strong bank which continues to grow and deliver valued customer services," he said.

The company's forecasting a full year profit of between $73m-$75m.

Mr Greenslade said Heartland, like other main banks, had to report to the Reserve Bank and Financial Markets Authority on its treatment of consumers by the end of next month.

He said the RBNZ's proposal to make banks hold more capital to cope with any future financial crisis would mean little financially to Heartland, costing it at the moment no more than about $15m a year.

Heartland restructured last year with a separate structure for its Australian business and a listing on the Australian stock exchange.

Mr Greenslade said its new structure gives it more options for the future, more diverse sources of funding, and reduce the impact of RBNZ regulation.