ANZ nears billion-dollar record return

ANZ National Bank is on track for another record-breaking full-year return, with profits soaring 31 per cent in the nine months to June.

New Zealand’s largest bank posted a net profit of $965 million, up from $735m in the same period last year.

With one more quarter to go, the bank is now just $120m shy of last year's record full-year profit of $1.085 billion.

After excluding non-cash and significant items, underlying profit was $1.024b in the nine months to June, up 12 per cent on the corresponding period last year.

The result comes less than a week after competitor ASB Bank posted a second consecutive record full-year profit of $685m.

ANZ New Zealand chief executive David Hisco said the bank improved its performance by tightly managing cost and risk, and focusing on simplifying products and services.

That simplification had improved cost-to-income ratios, he said, while also underpinning customer satisfaction and staff engagement.

Hisco said lending growth had remained subdued as households and businesses continued to repay debt.

However, ANZ had grown its share of the mortgage market, particularly in the commercially important Auckland market, he said.

While institutional profit dipped slightly and growth in commercial profit was modest the bank’s retail earnings rose to $321m, from $239m last year.