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ANZ bottom-line profits down after 'challenging' year

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Australia's ANZ announced a drop in bottom-line profits Thursday following misconduct charges and lower interest rates in what the bank said was a "challenging" 12 months.

[SYDNEY] Australia's ANZ announced a drop in bottom-line profits Thursday following misconduct charges and lower interest rates in what the bank said was a "challenging" 12 months.

Statutory profit after tax was down seven percent to A$5.95 billion (S$5.6 billion) in the full year to September 30, the bank said.

Cash profits stayed steady at A$6.47 billion over the same period.

"This has been a challenging year of slow economic growth, increased competition, regulatory change and global uncertainty," ANZ CEO Shayne Elliot said.

ANZ, along with Australia's other main banks, is still counting the costs of a scathing royal commission into the industry that unearthed widespread misconduct, including mortgage fraud and unethical financial and life insurance advice.

The bank said it had returned more than A$100 million to affected customers this financial year.

Record low interest rates around the world had also hit margins, said ANZ, which has about US$110 billion in deposits worldwide.

"We've seen this trend to much lower interest rates everywhere in the world and now including here in Australia - that has an impact on bank profitability," Mr Elliot added.

Mr Elliot said the bank had invested in simplifying operations in order to confront the challenges.

"We significantly reduced the cost and risk of operating the bank even though strong headwinds impacted the sector," he said.

"Investment was at record levels and we are a far stronger bank as a result of the progress made this year."

The bank announced a full year dividend of 80c per share.

ANZ was trading down 3.6 per cent to US$26.65 just after 2pm (0300 GMT) on Thursday.

AFP

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