Westpac has released its full-year financial results for the 12 months ended 30 September 2018, which are up 5% on the same time last year.
The bank’s cash earnings totalled at $1,017m and it secured a net operating income of $2,349m, up 4% on last year. Net interest margin sits at 2.15%, up 12 basis points.
Home loans and business lending both rose by 4%, and agriculture lending and deposits from farmers rose by 5% and 14% respectively. According to Westpac chief executive David McLean, the statistics reflect New Zealand’s strong economy and changing banking environment, along with the bank’s renewed focus on good customer service.
“We have invested significantly over the past three years to enhance services and outcomes for customers and will continue to do so,” McLean said.
“We’ve also been busy analysing customer data and proactively contacting individual customers through our ‘Value Me’ programme to check if their bank account or Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme fund best meets their needs. We’ve contacted more than 470,000 customers during the past year.”
McLean said 13 fees or charges had also been reduced or removed over the last year, along with 11 the previous year. Individual sales targets have also been removed from frontline staff, with incentives now focusing on customer service and feedback.
“We’ve been working closely with the regulators,” McLean stated. “We are firmly focused on putting customers first and delivering positive customer outcomes. We will be working through any issues regulators identify to ensure we can retain the trust of our customers and other stakeholders. Where any issues are identified, we are committed to fixing those quickly.”
The bank is also progressing with its two housing-related projects – a pilot programme designed to simplify access to finance for a prefabricated home, and a shared equity scheme to help Bay of Plenty iwi members into home ownership.
“We believe shared equity is an innovative solution that has the potential to help more New Zealanders into homes they would otherwise be unable to afford,” McLean said.
“Our mission is to help our customers financially, and to grow a better New Zealand. We are supporting our customers to save and invest, with deposit growth again outpacing lending growth over the last 12 months and customers using low interest rates to repay their mortgages faster.”