Westpac today reported a 1 per cent fall in first half net profit to $2.175 billion and a 6 per cent decline in cash earnings to $2.295 billion.
Gail Kelly, Westpac CEO, commented that while it was disappointing to announce a decline in cash earnings the performance by the bank still reflected its “strong, diversified and resilient” business.
The bank recorded a 9 per cent increase in lending, including $27.1 billion of new home lending.
Looking ahead the bank expects loan growth to slow and more customers to come under pressure as a result of economic hardship.
“While the larger impairments associated with the impacts of the global financial crisis appear largely behind us, we are seeing more pressure across our business customers and expect consumer stress to grow as unemployment rises.
“As a result we expect impairment charges to remain at a high level throughout the second half of 2009 and into 2010,” Ms Kelly said.
Supporting these customers would be the bank’s priority, she said.
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