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Commbank’s profit shrinks, but shareholders pocket more cash

  • February 10 2021
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Invest

Commbank’s profit shrinks, but shareholders pocket more cash

By Cameron Micallef
February 10 2021

Australia’s largest bank has announced a significant increase in dividends to shareholders, despite the fact its bottom line has been rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent pause on mortgage repayments.

Commbank

Commbank’s profit shrinks, but shareholders pocket more cash

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  • February 10 2021
  • Share

Australia’s largest bank has announced a significant increase in dividends to shareholders, despite the fact its bottom line has been rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent pause on mortgage repayments.

Commbank

In an announcement to the market on Wednesday, 10 February, CBA reported an annual 10.8 per cent slide in its cash profit to $3.89 billion for the six months ended 31 December.

The result was driven by a 0.5 per cent decline in operating income to $11.96 billion, and a 6.9 per cent increase in operating expenses to $5.57 billion.

But despite a yearly profit drop and generally lower result than projected, CBA is lifting its previously capped dividend to a fully franked $1.50 per share.

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The rising dividend payment will see shareholders pocket 53 per cent more in the first half dividend payment compared with the payment made in September last year. 

In a statement issued on Wednesday, chief executive Matt Comyn touted CBA’s results as “strong”.

“We have refreshed our strategic priorities to build on our strong foundations and position us for the future. This is an evolutionary change to enable the bank to focus on the new challenges and opportunities ahead.

“We have set an ambitious agenda and are committed to building tomorrow’s bank today for our customers,” Mr Comyn said.

The nation’s largest home lender posted a statutory net profit after tax of $4.9 billion for the first half of 2021, down 20.8 per cent on the prior corresponding period. 

Nearly two-thirds of this was due to lower one-off gains on disposals, and about a third was due to a decrease in cash profits from continuing operations.

However, a highlight for the bank was the “strong” business performance that saw lending expand across the board.

Over the past six months, home lending balances have grown at 1.5 times system, while business lending grew at approximately three times system over the year.

In addition, new business transaction account openings grew 50 per cent in comparison with the prior comparative period.

Further, both household and business deposits increased. Over the past six months, household deposits added $23 billion, growing by 1.1 times system, while business deposits increased $13 billion, 1.7 times system.

As such, Mr Comyn believes the bank is well placed for the challenges ahead.

“The strength of our balance sheet and capital position enables us to support customers and help lead the country through recovery.”

But while remaining upbeat and predicting “very good news looking forward”, Mr Comyn cautioned that the coming months may present economic challenges as the government’s stimulus measures start to roll back.

“We continue to monitor our lending portfolios closely for any signs of stress. The low interest environment will continue to put pressure on our revenue, which is why we remain focused on performance, operational execution and capital allocation.”

In other results, CBA’s net profit after tax in its retail banking division hit $2.2 billion, an improvement from the bank’s performance in the second half of FY20 but down on the prior corresponding period’s result of $2.3 billion.

In business and private banking, CBA reported a $1.3 billion cash net profit after tax.

Commbank’s profit shrinks, but shareholders pocket more cash
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

author image
Cameron Micallef

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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