Australian bank's profits rise 10%
Westpac Banking, one of Australia's largest banks, has posted a 10% increase in full-year profits to 6.99 billion Australian dollars (£4.5 billion) as bad debt charges fell and earnings remained stable.
Australian banks proved resilient against the global economic downturn and remain among a handful of banks in the world to maintain a AA credit rating.
Sydney-based Westpac said the net profit for the year to September 30 was up from 6.35 billion Australian dollars (£4.1 billion) a year earlier.
The bank posted cash earnings growth in its retail and business banking, New Zealand and BT Financial Group divisions, and a small fall in earnings from its institutional bank.
Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly said it was pleasing to see evidence of the bank's strategy of improving customer relations delivering tangible benefits.
"Deeper customer relationships, measured by customers with four or more products, are a real strength at a time of more subdued economic growth," she said in the statement.
"We are also growing overall customer numbers in each of our major brands," she added.
Bad debts declined 32% to 993 million Australian dollars (£641 million) from a year earlier, which helped boost its net profit.
Westpac's retail and business banking cash earnings were 1.95 billion Australian dollars (£1.26 billion) in the year through September, up 11% from a year earlier.
Total deposits rose by 10% in the year to 370.2 billion Australian dollars (£239 billion), while loans totalled 496.6 billion Australian dollars (£320 billion), up 4%. Mortgages made up the majority of loan growth, up 6%, while business lending was down 1%.