ANZ has become the first major Australian bank to cut its dividend and has warned Australia is about to move into a new phase of economic pain.
Commenting on the bank’s trading update yesterday, ANZ CEO Mike Smith said 2008’s high profile corporate collapses would give way in 2009 to rising consumer pain.
“The third phase which I think we’ll see more clearly in the second half of this year and into 2010 as unemployment rises, will be rising bad debts amid mainstream personal customers,” he said, according to The Australian Financial Review.
Mr Smith’s comments came as a tide of job cuts were announced across the country by companies including Bonds manufacturer Pacific Brands.
ANZ said it would reduce its dividend by around 25 per cent, saving it around $500 million in capital.