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NAB lifts profit, optimistic about future

NAB profits
NAB CEO Ross McEwan sees a pick-up in activity after reporting growth across the bank's businesses. Photo: AAP
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National Australia Bank has posted a near 80 per cent lift in full-year earnings and says it is optimistic about the future beyond the coronavirus pandemic.

The bank, which is one of Australia’s big four, says cash earnings rose 76.8 per cent to $6.56 billion in fiscal 2021 from a year ago.

“Our results this year demonstrate we have negotiated a challenging environment … resulting in safe growth across our business,” CEO Ross McEwan said on Tuesday.

“Our bank has momentum, our strategy is clear and as lockdown restrictions ease, a pick-up in activity is expected.”

The cash result was better than financial market analysts had expected.

For comparison, NAB’s statutory net profit also climbed, to $6.36 billion.

NAB declared a final dividend of 67 cents per share, taking the total for the year to $1.27, which was more than double what it paid out in fiscal 2020.

Mr McEwan cautioned that Australia’s economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19 will not be seen until 2022.

NAB expects “large hits” to economic growth and a contraction in the September gross domestic product data due to be released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics later this year.

But next year should be better, with the economy expected to expand by about four per cent.