Tāmaki Makaurau – ASB today reported a cash net profit after tax of $822 million for the six months to December 31 2022 which is an increase of $80 million or 11 percent on the prior comparative period.
The result was driven by four percent growth in total lending, with home and business lending up five percent and six percent respectively when compared with the first half of 2021. Total regulatory capital held by ASB increased in the 12 months to December 2022 by $1.9 billion to $10.8 billion.
Chief executive Vittoria Shortt says the result comes at a challenging time when many New Zealanders are feeling the effects of recent interest rate rises and the increased cost-of-living.
“Keeping people in their family homes, assisting businesses to thrive, and supporting our customers’ broader financial wellbeing is fundamental to our purpose. We understand the expectation for banks to play their part.
“Just as we heeded the call to keep lending courageously through the pandemic, we recognise the need to continue to support our customers in this cost-of-living challenge.
“This month ASB became the first major bank in New Zealand to completely remove monthly base fees and self-service transaction fees on advertised business transaction accounts.
“This move, combined with fee removals on some personal accounts, will put $14 million back into customers’ pockets in the year ahead at a time when they need it most. It is in addition to returning around $30 million to business customers over the past two years through merchant service fee rebate programme and other measures.”
ASB says its purpose is to accelerate financial wellbeing for all New Zealanders, which seems unusual when a bank charges high interest rates and makes near $1 billion profit in six months.
ASB recently established a new process to support customers who are becoming financially stressed due to cost-of-living impacts which gives customers more time to help reset their finances, including referral to an external financial mentoring agency to independently assess their position and consideration of short-term relief options.
In September, ASB released its first climate report which sets out what the bank currently understands about its climate-related risk and the strategies it is developing to respond.