Finance NAB full-year profit up 5pc to $5.6b in ‘challenging’ year

NAB full-year profit up 5pc to $5.6b in ‘challenging’ year

NAB's 14pc drop in underlying earnings was in line with market expectations. Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su
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NAB has posted a full-year profit of $5.55 billion, despite rising legal and regulatory costs flowing from the royal commission into the big banks’ misconduct.

However, cash earnings — the bank’s preferred measure, which strips out one-off gains and losses — showed a marked deceleration in earnings, down 14 per cent to $5.7 billion.

While not a great result, it was affected by restructuring costs and in line with the market’s expectations.

The bulk of the restructuring costs relate to $755 million in redundancy payouts to the 1,900 full-time employees who left the bank over the year.

NAB has targeted 6,000 jobs to go by 2020.

Repaying customers who received either poor, or no advice in NAB’s wealth division cost another $450 million. No provisions have yet been made for customer remediation in the mainstream bank.

“We are making progress to be a better bank for our customers, employees and owners,” NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn said.

“While 2018 has been a challenging year, our transformation is on track and benefits are emerging as we become simpler and faster.”

Revenues edge up

In contrast to other banks, NAB has managed churn out growing sales revenues, which were up 0.5 per cent.

But for the customer remediation costs, revenues would have been up 1.8 per cent.

Mr Thorburn said the result reflected growth in both housing and business lending and relatively stable margins.

The bottom line was also boosted by another improvement in loan quality with credit impairment charges down 3.8 per cent to $779 million.

The full-year dividend was maintained at $1.98 per share, the same payout investors have received since 2014.