CBA lending just to its own customers after investor lending exceeded APRA directive

CBA lending just to its own customers after investor lending exceeded APRA directive
CBA lending just to its own customers after investor lending exceeded APRA directive

Commonwealth Bank’s half-year earnings have put it firmly on course for a record $10 billion profit for the full year, even though the lender recently restricted loans to refinancing for investors.

The bank’s profit rose 6 per cent to $4.9 billion in the first half, of which half came from the retail banking side, which is where the home loans are concentrated.

The bank advanced 140,000 new home loans, including 15,000 for first home buyers, it said in a media release.

On the recent move to restrict refinancing of investor loans to new customers, CBA chief executive Ian Narev told 2GB’s Ross Greenwood that the lender crossed the APRA’s 10 percent growth cap for lending to investors for the year and had to be peg it back.

“We went over the limit and we made it quite clear we went over the limit…we just had to take a couple of steps to make sure we remain within that regulatory limit,” said Narev.

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority chairman Wayne Byres had said late in 2016 that bank stability had been well served by the 10 per cent growth cap imposed on bank investor loan portfolios, with actual rates of growth around half that rate. 

On increasing interest rates for investor-only loans, Narev said rates are independent of the results, “simply because it responds to a regulatory requirement to keep our lending growth in investor loans below 10 pct a year”.

When pressed further about stopping refinancing of investor loans, he said the bank’s “No. 1 priority is that we’re there for existing customers” and that CBA is just “trying to be prudent in this environment”. He said new investor loans for refinancing wouldn’t be done through the broker channel.

The group’s statutory net profit after tax (NPAT) for the half year ended 31 December was $4,895 million, a 6 per cent increase on the prior comparative period. Cash NPAT was $4,907 million, an increase of 2 per cent on the prior comparative period. 

Its Board has announced an interim dividend of $1.99 per share, a 1 cent increase on the 2016 interim dividend. The interim dividend, which will be fully franked, will be paid on 4 April 2017 with the ex-dividend date being 22 February 2017. 

According to The Australian, CBA will be the second company in Australia to report a $10 billion profit for a year. Mining giant BHP reported $US15.9 billion in 2012.

In operating income terms, retail banking reported $3.9 billion in the first half, followed by business and private banking at $1.2 billion.

Investor Lending Commonwealth Bank


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