The major bank’s CEO, Matt Comyn, told the AGM that there is an “abundance” of housing credit available, as the bank reported an increase in home lending.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has reported that home lending to customers has grown 30 per cent faster than market growth, with the bank having lent $92 billion to its home loan customers in the last year.
Addressing shareholders at its annual general meeting (AGM) on Wednesday, CBA chief executive Matt Comyn said “there remains an abundance of housing credit available”.
On general housing market trends, Mr Comyn noted that declining interest rates had contributed to a recovery in some established housing markets.
With house prices rising in Sydney and Melbourne after having fallen for 18 months, he said there were promising signs the market had stabilised.
“While regulatory guidance has increased in recent years for home lending, these changes have improved lending standards across the industry and have further improved resilience of the financial system,” Mr Comyn said.
In terms of Australian businesses, Mr Comyn said Australian businesses were able to maintain profit levels at around historical averages despite challenging conditions in some sectors such as retail, construction and agriculture.
“This has enabled most businesses to comfortably meet their debt repayments, and creates the capacity for investment and innovation,” he said.
The bank currently lends more than $500 million to Australian businesses every week, with Mr Comyn adding there is an appetite to do more.
Home and business lending are both up 4 per cent, and transaction deposit balances are growing by 9 per cent.
Mr Comyn acknowledged the challenges stemming from low interest rates for savers.
“Lower interest rates are a feature globally, and the local cash rate has fallen 75 basis points since May,” he said.
“This low rate environment creates challenges for our customers and for financial institutions.
“We very much recognise that customers who rely on interest payments from savings balances have seen this income decrease.”
CBA chairperson Catherine Livingstone told the AGM that the bank is continuing with its “orderly exit" of its mortgage broking businesses, as well as other businesses in an effort to become a “simpler bank".
“By simplifying our portfolio, we are reducing risk and cost and can concentrate on the needs of our core banking customers, in our core markets,” she said.
[Related: CBA, Westpac lose ground in broker space]
Malavika Santhebennur is the features editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2019, Malavika held roles with Money Management and Benchmark Media. She has been writing about financial services for the past six years.
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