Profitable quarter for ANZ, Westpac

ANZ and Westpac have grown their first-quarter profits by a third, with all the Australian-owned banks reporting sharply improved performances.

ANZ's disclosure statement for the three months to December 31 shows it made an unaudited net profit of $393 million, up 33 per cent from $296m.

The result was driven by lower funding costs, which helped boost net interest income 5 per cent to $688m on improved total lending of $101.2 billion.

The country's largest bank also reduced its expenses by $26m, savings which were attributed to the successful merger of the ANZ and National Bank brands.

ANZ's growth was mirrored by Westpac NZ's 35 per cent jump, from $197m to $266m.

Westpac NZ's total lending grew from $59.7b to $62.8b, even while its net interest income declined 3 per cent.

However, the bank was able to compensate through a $22m fall in bad debts, and a $48m gain on the sale of some overseas shares.

Bank of Zealand this week posted a 57 per cent jump in profit to $198m for the first quarter.

That result was influenced largely by movements in the value of financial instruments, which it is required to report to meet accounting standards.

ASB, which follows a different financial year, has already reported a 14 per cent improved interim result of $416m for the six months to December 31.

ASB, ANZ, BNZ and Westpac are all subsidiaries of Australian banks.

Their main competitor, state-owned Kiwibank, made a $52m profit for the December half-year, down from the previous record half-year profit of $58m.

Fairfax Media