ANZ backs FleetPartners’ EV expansion

Source: ANZ statements

FleetPartners is a leading provider of vehicle leasing, fleet management, heavy commercial vehicles, salary packaging and novated leasing and operates across Australia and New Zealand.

The Green tranche of this latest deal will exclusively fund leases for electric vehicles and has been certified as a “Climate Bond” by the Climate Bonds Initiative, which is accepted globally as the gold standard in Green bond certifications.

ANZ played a key role in the transaction, acting as joint green bond co-ordinator, co-arranger, joint lead manager, and joint bookrunner.

The transaction aligns with ANZ’s target to fund and facilitate at least AU$100 billion in environmental and social outcomes by 2030.

David Simmons, Executive Director Sustainable Finance at ANZ said: “As we understand it, this is the first auto asset-backed securitisation issue to include a Green tranche in the Australian and New Zealand markets and we’re pleased to have taken a key role in delivering this transaction to market.

“There is a growing market trend seeking to decarbonise the transport sector by transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to fully electric vehicles. It’s encouraging seeing more companies like FleetPartners investing in this area for the benefit of the environment and consumers.”

Damien Berrell, CEO and Managing Director at FleetPartners said: “The successful issuance of an asset-backed securitisation with a Green tranche is a significant company milestone and a testament to our commitment to helping investors prioritise responsible and sustainable investments.”

ANZ has been providing banking services to FleetPartners for more than 15 years.

Consumer confidence: another 2024 low

Source: ANZ statements

• Consumer confidence was virtually unchanged, decreasing 0.3pts to 80.2 pts. The four-week moving average fell 0.8 pts to 80.5 pts.

• ‘Weekly inflation expectations’ fell 0.2ppt to 4.8%, while the four-week moving average was down 0.1ppt to 5.0%.

• ‘Current financial conditions’ (over last year) increased by 1.2pts and ‘future financial conditions’ (next 12 months) rose 0.6pts.

• ‘Short term economic confidence’ (next 12 months) were up 1.9pts and ‘Medium term economic confidence’ (next five years) decreased by 1.0pt.

• The ‘time to buy a major household item’ subindex was down 4.4pts.

ASIC investigation regarding 2023 AOFM bond issuance

Source: ANZ statements

ANZ was appointed by the AOFM to act as a risk manager in relation to the issuance of the Treasury Bonds.

ANZ understands that ASIC is investigating suspected contraventions of a number of provisions of the ASIC Act and the Corporations Act.

ANZ takes compliance with its regulatory obligations seriously and is co-operating fully with ASIC. 

Consumer information – Serene Heaters safety recall

Source: Consumer Affairs – New Zealand Government

This applies to all units imported, sold, or installed since June 2018.

More information about this recall and the retailers who are working with MBIE:

Serene S2068 Bathroom Heater. Originally published February 2024(external link) — Product Safety New Zealand

The hazard

Serene S2068 heaters have a manufacturing defect. There have been 17 reported fire events associated with these heaters.
There is a significant risk of people being seriously harmed and property being damaged.

What are my rights around unsafe products?

The Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) guarantees that products must be of acceptable quality, including safe to use. Where a product is unsafe – or doesn’t meet mandatory product safety requirements – you have the right to return it to the business who you purchased it from for a refund, repair, or replacement.

These rights apply regardless of whether the retailer has issued a voluntary recall.

More information about your rights under the CGA:

Consumer Guarantees Act

Check if this heater is in your home

The prohibited S2068 heater is described as:

  • Wall mounted fan heater with step-down thermostat with pull-cord on-off switch, for fixed-wired installation in bathrooms and similar locations
  • Mirror polished stainless steel metal shell with die cast grille OR White shell with die cast grille
  • Dimensions: 300 mm wide, 210 mm high and 110 mm deep.  

Serene S2068 Bathroom Heater. Originally published February 2024(external link) — Product Safety New Zealand

What you should do if you have a Serene bathroom heater in your home or rental property

Check to see if you have an affected heater with model number S2068. If you do, stop using it immediately.

Consumers can contact the business to return the goods under the Consumer Guarantees Act and ask the supplier they purchased it from for a safe replacement (if available) or a refund.

If the heater has been installed by fixed wiring, consumers can also require the supplier to arrange for its removal by an electrician.

If consumers can’t identify the supplier, they will have to arrange an electrician to remove this heater at their own cost.

If the heater is plugged into the wall, consumers can switch off the electricity, unplug, and remove the heater.

Please ensure that all units are safely disposed of so they cannot be reused or resold.

If you are a tenant of a rental property, discuss a course of action with your landlord.

Are there other Serene models affected?

Energy Safety have also issued notices on two other models.

  • They have prohibited sale, installation, and importation of Serene S207T wall mounted bathroom heaters. This prohibition applies to all units imported, sold, or installed since January 2018.
  • Serene S2069 wall mounted bathroom heaters imported, purchased, or installed after June 2018 have had their approval withdrawn. This confirms they cannot be legally sold in New Zealand.

Although Energy Safety have not declared these two models to be unsafe, they advise there is a low risk from continued use. If consumers observe an unusual smell or noise from the heater, do not use it and contact an electrical worker to check it over. You can also report the incident to WorkSafe for further investigation.

Notification of a non-workplace event(external link) — WorkSafe New Zealand

If you have a S2069 or S207T installed in your home and are concerned, you can also contact the supplier to seek a remedy under the CGA. Some suppliers have also undertaken a voluntary recall of these heaters. You can also find out more on the Product Safety New Zealand website:

Serene S207T Bathroom Heater(external link) — Product Safety New Zealand
Serene S2069 Bathroom Heater(external link) — Product Safety New Zealand

More help

We recommend that you first contact the business you purchased the heater from to agree a course of action and appropriate remedy.

If you have questions about your rights or need help to get a fair deal we suggest you contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or use this website to learn about your next steps to resolve your issue.

Customers tipped to spoil mum this Mother’s Day

Source: ANZ statements

In 2023, ANZ’s Australian customers spent a total of $543.5m over the Mother’s Day period, an increase of 6% on the previous year.

ANZ data suggests Australians will continue to spend millions of dollars in 2024 on restaurants, cafés and takeaway – with $74.9m spent on these items on Mother’s Day 2023, up 7% year-on-year (YoY). Wineries and bottle shops saw a 15% surge YoY in 2023, with a total of $27.55m spent on Mother’s Day.

ANZ Deposits and Payments Lead, Australia Retail, Yiken Yang said: “Precious stones, watches and jewellery continue to be popular gifts, with ANZ data revealing $5.97m was spent on those items for Mother’s Day in 2023 – an 8% increase year-on-year.”

“Similarly, expenditure on personal health, beauty and hairdressing rose by 9% year-on-year to $9.75m, reflecting a continued appetite to spoil mum,” Mr Yang said.

“We also saw spending on flowers skyrocket by $3.34m to $4.75m over the Mother’s Day period last year, which represents a 242% expenditure increase on the average May weekend,” he said.

While traditional Mother’s Day gifts such as flowers, self-care and dining out continue to be popular, expenditure on items such as travel took a 7% fall YoY, totalling $13.75m in 2023. Mother’s Day spending on clothing and accessories saw a 3% dip YoY, to $27.75m in 2023.

Victorians spent the most on Mother’s Day itself, but Queensland and the ACT spent more over the entire Mother’s Day weekend, compared to other weekends in May 2023.

ANZ customers continue to use unique phrases to send money over the Mother’s Day period with some of the most popular transaction messages including: Mother’s Day lunch; Mother’s Day dinner; Love you Mum; Best Mum; Flowers for Mum; and Love you.

 

STATE BY STATE COMPARISON – ANZ CUSTOMER DATA

 

Victoria

  • Victoria’s total Mother’s Day spend last year was $155.02m, an increase on $147.57m in 2022.
  • Victoria’s Mother’s Day spending in 2023 was the highest in Australia.
  • Victorian customers spent the most on health, beauty, and hairdressing, followed by floristry, then precious stones and jewellery.

New South Wales

  • In NSW, total spending on Mother’s Day in 2023 was $144.47m, up from $139.23m in 2022.
  • ANZ customers in NSW spent the second-highest amount of any Australian state on Mother’s Day last year. NSW customers spent the most on precious stones and jewellery, followed by floristry products and books and stationery.

 

Queensland

  • Queensland customers spent $105.22m on Mother’s Day last year. The total Queensland spend in 2022 on Mother’s Day was $98.5m.
  • Queensland was the third-highest spending state on Mother’s Day itself, behind Victoria and New South Wales.
  • Queensland customers’ highest spending category was precious stones and jewellery, followed by books and stationery, and then floristry items.

 

Western Australia

  • In total, WA customers spent $73.71m on Mother’s Day in 2023, an increase from $68.24m in 2022.
  • The product category with the highest spend among WA customers was precious stones and jewellery, followed by floristry products and photographic equipment/services.

 

South Australia

  • South Australian customers spent $38.91m in 2023 on Mother’s Day, up from $36.94m in 2022.
  • Precious stones and jewellery was the category with the highest spend among South Australian customers, followed by floristry, and then books and stationery.

 

Tasmania

  • Tasmania’s total Mother’s Day spend last year was $11.96m, a marginal increase from $11.38m in 2022.
  • The books and stationery category topped the list for highest spend by customers in Tasmania, followed by floristry products, and precious stones and jewellery.

Northern Territory

  • Customers in the NT spent $5.14m on Mother’s Day last year, up from $4.68m in 2022.
  • NT customers’ top spending category was precious stones and jewellery, followed by floristry products, and photographic equipment.

Australian Capital Territory

  • In total, customers in the ACT spent a total of $9.06m on Mother’s Day last year. The 2022 spend on Mother’s Day was $8.49m.
  • ACT customers spent the most on health, beauty and hairdressing, followed by precious stones and jewellery, and floristry products.

Transcript – ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott speaks with Tom Elliott on 3AW Drive

Source: ANZ statements

Shayne Elliott: Good morning.

Tom Elliott: Is that true that our economy is under stress?

Shayne Elliott: Oh, absolutely. There’s stress, depending how you think about it. Cost of living is real – inflation, people are paying higher taxes, bracket creep, interest rates are higher. So for many, yes, their household budgets are struggling and we see that in our numbers. We see that people are changing the way they spend their money – they are cutting back. And we also see that there are more households who are struggling to keep up with their home loan payments. Not too many, which is good, but there are more than there has been. So, yes, there’s definitely stress.

Tom Elliott: I mean, for example, we’ve got a report on Melbourne’s coffee culture, would you believe, and it says that people are buying smaller cups, they’re drinking more instant coffee, they’re not buying a muffin to go with their coffee. That’s consistent with, you know, household incomes being, under some stress, isn’t it?

Shayne Elliott: Absolutely. Funny you say that – I didn’t know you were talking about coffee – I was just saying to my team, you know, we have a whole bunch of retailers around here in Docklands, and there’s no doubt that the local 7-Eleven, which does $2 coffees, cappuccinos and whatever – it’s got a got a line outside. And so, yes, absolutely,  people are changing the way that they spend their money.

Tom Elliott: Now the ANZ Bank is headquartered in Melbourne, of course, though it is a national bank. What did you think of the state government’s budget yesterday? We just spoke to the Treasurer, Tim Pallas. What did you make of it?

Shayne Elliott: Clearly they’ve got a whole bunch of very difficult decisions to make in terms of how do they keep their services current. And there obviously are needs to spend a bit more here and there. There’s trying to spend for the future and build a better state for all of us, but at the same time, coping with the burden of quite high levels of debt. Look, relative to the state, ANZ’s a pretty small business, and I know how hard it is to get those balances right, we’re the same, right? We need to keep services current so that people can go about their banking, but we’ve also got to take enough money aside to pay our shareholders – but also invest heavily, making sure that we’re relevant and contemporary for the next generation. And so it’s a difficult thing to get right. I think there was some really good balance in some of the decisions. You know, they’ve cut back, cancelled some of the projects, but then on the other hand, they’ve been willing to put a bit of money out there for families in need. So I think it’s a balanced approach. But you know, as I said, difficult when you’re sitting with that level of debt.

Tom Elliott: And let’s just say the state government was a customer of the bank’s and you were just trying to assess them as though they were a household, I know governments are different from households, but I mean, if you look at their cash flow projections and their debt projections – everything’s still trending in the wrong direction. Despite the cuts that they’ve made, debt for the next four years – and probably well beyond – continues to rise.

Shayne Elliott: That’s true. But you know, again, it’s a difficult thing to compare them to a household. But let’s imagine more to business. It’s okay in many cases to have debt – it really depends on what you’ve done with the debt. Are you building for a stronger future? If you’ve just gone and, you know, spent it, to have a good time, that’s very different to say, “No, no, I’ve gone and built infrastructure that ultimately will build the tax base of the state”. Now, I don’t know enough about all of that, but I think there’s two types of debt, as I said – debt that’s sort of been wasted and spent; and debt that’s actually been an investment in the future. Because ultimately, if you can increase the attractiveness of Victoria, make it easier to do business, you know, increase the tax base over time, then that’s an investment in the future. And that would be a positive.

Tom Elliott: Now, clearly, interest rates are crucial to the Victorian government’s future success or not, as they are to Victorian households. And I noted with some concern yesterday that the Reserve Bank hinted that the next move in interest rates could actually be up because inflation isn’t going away. Is that something you’re worried about?

Shayne Elliott: Yes, and we’ve been worried about that for a little while. I think we made that point 6-7 months ago, when everybody was really excited and thinking interest rates were going to come down tomorrow. We did make the point that this inflation looks like it’s stickier than we might like, not just in Australia, by the way – globally. And if it is stickier, then don’t get too excited. If the rate cuts are coming, they’re probably going to be a lot further away. And you cannot rule out rate increases. And we said that, as I said, six months ago and continue to have that view. Again, our view is that the next move will be down, but it’s probably not until next year. But you can’t rule out an increase. And one of the big factors is we’ve got the Budget. Let’s see what that does. Obviously, the Federal Treasurer is saying it’s not going to be inflationary, but let’s wait and see. And of course, you’ve got the tax cuts coming through in a couple of months – and that puts money into people’s pockets. I imagine we’re going to have to wait and see what do people do with that money. Now if people pay off the debt, that’s very different. If they run out and buy new flat screen TVs, that’ll be very different. So we have to wait and see.

Tom Elliott: What about Victoria’s credit rating? Currently it’s the lowest, I think, of all the states and the territories. I think it’s AA and most of the others are AAA or AAA+. I’ve spoken privately to people who work at both Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s and they sort of say, well, unofficially, the state is under review. And in fact, it seems to me likely that our credit rating could be cut again. Is that a real risk?

Shayne Elliott: I think, again, they’ll know more about it than me. I mean, it clearly is a risk. It’s not something anybody would want. I don’t think anybody sits here and plans to have a credit rating cut. Look, it’s still AA – it’s still very, very strong in a global sense. Okay, they’ve got amazing neighbours around and other states are AAA, but you know when you stand back and think of that globally, it’s an amazingly strong credit rating that most would be very, very happy with. But you wouldn’t want to… nobody would wish for it to be downgraded.

Tom Elliott: No. That my concern is more…

Shayne Elliott: More interest costs, right.

Tom Elliott: …exactly, yeah. That’s the concern. I mean, at the moment, almost 10% of state revenue is being spent servicing debt. Can I ask you – going back to your bank, the ANZ Bank. The future of banking. I was walking past your very impressive banking chambers at 388 Collins St the other day. And I know you’re doing tours and things, you know, “This is the way banking used to be done”. But is it true that we’re sort of moving towards a cashless, and possibly a branchless system of banking in the next 10 or 15 years?

Shayne Elliott: I don’t think we’re moving to a cashless or branchless future. We are moving toward a “less cash” and “less branch” future, if that makes sense. I don’t think we’re going to eliminate cash, but the reality is today, cash is only something like 13% of all transactions in the economy. It’s not that long ago – and I’m not talking ancient history, I’m talking like ten years ago – something like ten years ago, well over 50% was cash. Now, it’s 13% and the projections are that that will halve in the next five years – it’ll be 5 or 6. So there’ll be less and less and less cash. Something about half of Australians leave their home in the morning with no cash, because they don’t feel they need to. And therefore if there’s no cash then there’s sort of less need for branches as well. So there’ll be changes. Just like there have been over the last 200 years, there will continue to be change.

Tom Elliott: Do you think it’s legitimate for businesses – and a lot of businesses would be clients of the ANZ – to charge people for cashless transactions, you know, 1 to 1.5% – but also refuse to take cash? And I’ve encountered that at quite a few businesses.

Shayne Elliott: Yeah I know, and I have too, and some of them are customers of ours. I mean they will make the argument – and I’ve heard the argument that actually handling cash is really expensive: they’ve got to do lots of reconciliations at the end of the day depending on what you’re doing; if you’re in food services, it’s dirty and all those other things – so they make the choices for them. I think, at the end of the day, businesses should be able to do what they want as long as it’s transparent and people have a choice. I think it’s up to businesses to decide how they want to get paid and what they want to charge.

Tom Elliott: Well the problem is it’s often transparent, they often don’t get a choice. I mean, plenty of places say they don’t take cash and they will slug you with a credit card payment fee.

Shayne Elliott: Then don’t shop there, if you don’t like it, shop somewhere else.

Tom Elliott: Yeah. Have you got plans to get rid of many more ANZ branches?

Shayne Elliott: We don’t have plans to get rid of them. What we have plans to do is to respond to what customers want and use. And so the reality is customers, as I say, they’re using less and less cash. That means, almost hand-in-hand, that they use branches less and less, because why do you need to go to a branch? And so we are seeing a reduction in need for branches – and so we have to keep adapting. Now I know people focus on branch closures, but we do open branches and we refurbish branches. I was just in – I know it’s not Victoria – but I was just in the Northern Territory, which is opening a brand new branch in Darwin, and we just refurbished our branch in Tennant Creek to make them more appropriate. So it’s just changing. But I think the reality is there’ll be less branches in the future. I think we should just understand that that’s the trend – that’s the world we live in.

Tom Elliott: Shayne Elliott, CEO of the ANZ Bank. Thank you for your time.

Shayne Elliott: Thank you.

ANZ 2024 Half Year Results – ANZ Chief Financial Officer Farhan Faruqui speaking notes

Source: ANZ statements

From my standpoint, there are 3 key highlights:

1-   First, financially – off the back of a record year, we have delivered stable results this half. Revenues are flat half on half, cost growth constrained to a 1% uplift, and low credit impairment charges reflect the quality of our portfolio. All four businesses have performed well and have exited the half with strong origination momentum. Our balance sheet is also stronger than ever.

2-   Second, strategically – we have made strong progress. Shayne touched on ANZ Plus and our continuing momentum in building and running a digital retail bank. We are also readying ourselves for the completion of the Suncorp Bank transaction, which remains subject to remaining approvals. We remain confident that we will deliver on our promise of strong financial and customer benefits of the acquisition. We continued the simplification of the bank completing the sale of a large part of our stake in AmBank freeing up $668m of capital.

3-   And, finally we delivered strong shareholder outcomes with Total Shareholder Returns of 19% in the half. Our Return on Equity remains strong at 10.1% or 10.7% when excluding capital for Suncorp. We have announced today a $2b on-market share buyback. This is one of the largest capital management exercises that we have ever announced. In addition, the Board declared a dividend of 83 cents per share partially franked at 65%.

All of this reaffirms our commitment to deliver what we promise.

Now, let me turn to the details of our financial outcome for the Half. My references will be to half on half changes unless I specify otherwise.

Starting with Operating Income performance.

Following a record FY23 performance, we delivered Operating Income flat to a strong second half with ANZ’s business mix allowing us to deal effectively into the competitive environment. Following a record FY23 performance, we delivered Operating Income flat to a strong second half with ANZ’s business mix allowing us to deal effectively into the competitive environment. However, operating income was slightly up, excluding the one-off impacts of M&A such as the AmBank divestment and business closures.

Our Markets business performance was outstanding, with revenues 27% higher and 5% higher than the very strong first half of last year.

Net interest income ex Markets reduced by $91m, with strong business volume growth partially offsetting margin reductions.

Other Operating Income was up 7% this half and 20% pcp. OOI is impacted by several factors including Markets business performance and seasonality. Therefore the comparison that best reflects underlying business momentum is on an ex-markets basis pcp.

On that metric, Other operating income ex Markets was 11% higher. This growth was underpinned by the uplift in international transaction banking and corporate finance fees and from our cards businesses in Australia and New Zealand.

Now I’ll spend some time talking about net interest income and Markets in particular.

Starting with volume.

We grew lending and deposit volume across Australia retail, commercial and New Zealand. Group average customer deposits grew 3% and average lending grew 2% once again. I’ll make three key points here:

1-   First, Australia Home Loan volume grew at 1.5x system, the 3rd consecutive half of above system growth. This growth was delivered through improved process and propositions rather than price. Retail deposit mix shifts slowed and total average deposit volumes increased by $9b. While margin pressures from last year flowed through to impact HOH outcomes, actions taken by the business resulted in a Retail exit NIM up 1 bps, March’24 vs September’23.

2-   Secondly, Commercial business momentum has been particularly strong with loan growth of 7% year on year. The last 12 months represent the strongest period of absolute loan volume growth ever in the commercial business. This has been driven by continued momentum in our larger segments particularly property and Agri. We also saw a return to growth in the Small Business segment. We are scaling digital offerings, harmonising policies and intensifying our focus on sales and service, making it easier for our customers to do business with us. If we exclude the impact of management actions relating to the sale or rundown of some of our Asset Finance and Investment lending portfolios, underlying growth was 8% year on year. Our pipeline remains very strong and we expect to continue growing above system.

3-   Thirdly, in Institutional there was a shift from bank debt to bond markets. Despite this shift which impacted loan volumes, Institutional grew lending revenue while capturing the bond market shift in our Markets business. Total Institutional deposits contracted  over the half. However, at call operational deposits grew and lower margin deposits were actively managed down. These outcomes across lending and deposits resulted in Institutional NIM ex Markets expanding 3 bps.

A combination of diversification, active margin management and volume momentum has stabilised both underlying net interest margin and net interest income over the last 3 quarters as evident on this slide.

Our focus remains to allocate capital to the most return accretive opportunities across our businesses driving volume growth to optimise Net Interest Income.

Group underlying NIM, as a result of our management actions, was limited to a 2 bps decline.

As I just mentioned pressure on asset pricing reduced with assets contributing 4 bps to the NIM decline vs 7 bps in 2H23. Active management of our liability pricing and the asset and funding mix allowed us to hold NIM flat.

There was a continuing NIM benefit from the capital and replicating portfolio which in this half again provided a 3 bps uplift. While the impact of capital and replicating portfolio may vary in each half, we expect it to be a tailwind at least over the next 2-3 years with the net benefit dependent on volume changes. 

We are very encouraged as we exit the first half with benefits of diversification, strong balance sheet and stabilising NIM all supportive to NII.

The Markets business delivered its strongest first half performance since 2017, with total Markets income up 27%, and customer franchise income up 30%.

The customer franchise performed well in each product segment and was able to harness higher client demand in certain Rates and Commodities offerings. Also, important to note that our differentiated international footprint accounted for two thirds of the growth in franchise income on a year-on-year basis.

It’s important to note that while the markets business has been historically characterised by revenue volatility, the growing strength of our customer franchise has delivered 40% growth over the last 3 years and has been consistent in its performance. The consistency of Markets franchise income is underpinned by the reasons our clients choose us – the suite of capabilities that we have built over several years of investment in combination with our unique footprint across the region. It’s also because the high quality of our customer base which represent some of the largest companies in the world.

I’ll turn now to how Markets activities flow through to Group revenue and how this impacts the Group net interest margin.

While Markets income increased 27% this half, this comprised a 36% increase in OOI, partially offset by a reduction in NII, due to higher funding costs.

Consequently, the impact of Markets activities on the Group NIM delta was an adverse 7 basis points. This comprises 5 bps points from higher growth in Markets assets relative to the group, and 2 basis points due to higher funding costs.

I won’t spend time on the accounting for Markets income as we detailed this in the roundtable session we ran in March – and the materials are available on our website.

But it’s important to reiterate that the Markets business is run to optimise return on equity and total revenue and, in fact, the very things that drove total markets revenue and ROE uplifts in the half also adversely impacted headline Group NIM.

Now moving to costs.

Our disciplined approach to cost management constrained expense growth to 1%. This is despite our largest cost component, our people costs, being impacted by inflation from October 1.

While we continued to progress execution of our strategic priorities we delivered our highest level of productivity benefits ever in this half.

As a result of these actions, our FTE reduced by 350 across our higher cost locations in the half which reflects ongoing optimisation of our footprint, technology simplification, and continued investment into automation and digital channels. 

As I’ve mentioned many times, productivity is an ongoing discipline for us, with more than $1.5bn of benefits delivered since 2019. 

Our productivity efforts this half have focused on:

  • Continuing to simplify our technology, with almost half of our targeted applications now hosted on Cloud.
  • Consolidating and rationalising areas within our Head Office functions; and
  • Continuing to build out our Group Capability Centers.

Productivity is improving customers’ experience, allowing them to engage with us via their channel of choice. For example,

  • In Australia Retail close to 1m conversations were undertaken through our Message Us capability in the half, up 58%, with 40% of those conversations not requiring banker support.
  • Meanwhile in Commercial, almost half of our small business lending applications were processed through streamlined processes that translated to a 10% reduction in Time to Money year-on-year. Digital origination of transaction accounts increased 35% year-on-year.

It is this continued focus on productivity that allows us to invest in our strategic initiatives and drives business growth and momentum.

Moving to Individual Provisions.

The work we have undertaken over a number of years to reshape our lending book continues to drive strong credit quality outcomes. In line with the last 2 years, this half we saw another low IP loss rate outcome of 1 basis point, with a charge of $38m.

We believe the outcomes of our portfolio improvement are long term in nature and have delivered a structural change in expected loss rates, resulting in our peer leading low provision charge and IP loss rates in recent years.

Like the rest of the sector, we are starting to see pockets of stress emerge, primarily in parts of our Australia Mortgage and New Zealand portfolio as our customers deal with the impact of high interest rates and significant cost of living pressures. We continue to work with our customers to provide any support required.

It is important to note, however, these delinquency increases are off a historically low base, and delinquency levels continue to remain below 2019 levels.

I’ll comment briefly on the Collective Provision Balance which stands at $4.05 billion.

Since the first half of 2020, we’ve witnessed a number of pronounced economic trends.  A pandemic, a massive influx of liquidity, the subsequent rapid rise in cash rates, a dramatic rise in, and stubborn levels of inflation, and a steep rise in home loan interest rates.

Over the past year, these conditions have moderated. As a result, several economic indicators are beginning to move back into a more normal range. At the same time though, as I said earlier, there are signs emerging of stress in parts of our New Zealand and Australian Housing portfolios.

Post the introduction of AASB 9, banks were required to take more of a forward-looking view of expected future credit losses including management’s forward-looking views on the range of potential impacts.

As we see less of these extreme events and we return to what we could characterise as more normal economic conditions, that could provide us with the comfort to reduce the weightings of both the downside and severe economic model scenarios and consequently increase the weighting to the base case economic scenario.

The outcome of such changes would naturally result in a future release to our current collective provision levels.

However, given the level of volatility and uncertainty that still exists from a cost of living, inflation, direction of interest rates and geopolitical perspective, we believe our provision levels are prudent and appropriate, for now.

We have further strengthened our balance sheet with high levels of capital and liquidity. Our CET1 ratio at the end of the half was 13.5%, including the impact of the partial sale of our AmBank investment.  Our CET1 ratio pro forma for both Suncorp and the $2b on-market buy-back remains very strong at 11.8%. On an internationally harmonised basis, we continue to be one of the highest capitalised banks in the world.

This capital strength provides capacity to support our customers, and to take advantage of growth opportunities when they are on strategy and return accretive.

We also announced today 83 cps dividend partially franked at 65%. The franking reflects the geographically diverse nature of our business including the strong performance of our non-Australian businesses.

We will continue to maximise the distribution of franking credits to our shareholders as they are more valuable to you than to us. I should note that post-completion of Suncorp Bank our franking generation will improve.

Similarly, our liquidity position continues to strengthen with an LCR ratio of 134% and a well-diversified funding base by geography and by customer segment

We have also replaced our TFF maturities and have completed 2/3rds of our full year term funding needs in the first half.

 

Looking forward, my areas of focus support the Group key objectives as outlined by Shayne.

First, our financial performance remained strong with all 4 businesses performing well, and with management actions producing stable NIM outcomes over the last 3 quarters.

Looking forward, we see margin headwinds moderating as deposit mix begins to stabilise and asset margins become less of a headwind. We are optimistic that the current trends, our business momentum and diversification will be supportive to Net Interest Income. The competitive environment, however, remains unpredictable and we will continue to refine our settings to optimise our financial outcomes.

Second, diversification remains a positive differentiator for us particularly because of 4 largely uncorrelated businesses. Having a set of healthy businesses is crucial to leveraging diversification benefits. In our case, all four divisions and each region are meaningful contributors to the Group performance, are each profitable with above cost of capital outcomes and we continue to target growth across our portfolio.

Third, we are consistently executing our strategic initiatives and will accelerate where we feel appropriate. For example, in the second half, we will uplift investment in preparing Suncorp Bank for integration as well as accelerating the work required to seamlessly transition our existing customers and Suncorp customers to the superior ANZ Plus propositions.

Fourth, we have a longstanding focus on cost management. While fully offsetting very high levels of inflation remains challenging, you have seen us demonstrate a disciplined and growth-oriented investment approach and a consistent focus on productivity for many years. You should assume this continues.

Finally, we remain committed to maintaining a strong balance sheet. This is vital for us because it allows our businesses to deliver our commitment to our customers and provides us with the capacity to access accretive opportunities.

Thanks and I’ll hand back to you Jill.

ANZ 2024 Half Year Results – ANZ Chief Executive Officer Shayne Elliot speaking notes

Source: ANZ statements

First, this is a result about consolidation and delivery. We delivered what we promised and coming off a record 2023, these are strong results.

Second, diversification served us well, with momentum across all divisions from targeted investment, efficient capital allocation and strong risk management. We have options others don’t, and we used them well.

Third, we made progress where we said we would: preparing for Suncorp, growing ANZ Plus, leveraging Institutional processing platforms and delivering productivity.

Fourth, we used productivity benefits to fund investment in growth, including ANZ Plus, Institutional’s digital backbone, upgrading New Zealand’s core banking platform and growing our Commercial business. We are not milking the franchise but investing, intending to build and sustain the most contemporary digital capability in each business.

Finally, we continued supporting customers through challenging times, with a fortress balance sheet, a diversified portfolio of businesses and an experienced team.

And that support is needed, as while most remain resilient, higher interest rates, taxes, rent and household expenses are hurting many.

The number of customers in hardship rose this half and while still lower than it has been in the past, it’s extremely distressing for each of them. We expect that number to rise further as cost-of-living bites harder and unemployment likely increases, but I do want to assure those customers: we are here to support you.

For example, we developed a world-first AI transaction scoring capability for retail and small business customers. We can identify customers at risk of distress ~40 days earlier than usual, so we get customers back on their feet more quickly.

We also support customers by keeping them safe. Providing a safe place for their money has been core to our business for 196 years and always will be. That’s why investing in security is our #1 priority.  Being a simpler, stronger bank helps, meaning we’re ready and able to help those in need, with the right tools at the right time to keep them safe.

Safe from criminals. Safe from hackers. Safe from scammers.

Sadly, people are more susceptible to scams in times of stress, so we will continue to invest here as well.

You may have seen our latest advertisements with the return of our hugely popular Falcon, but also an anti-fraud system flagging suspicious transactions.

The ads are fun but they carry a serious message about extra layers of security through ANZ Plus, and the protection Falcon technology provides.

In fact, we are adding more scam-safe controls to ANZ Plus, including disabling screen sharing, limiting transfers to crypto exchanges and better identifying unusual activity from unexpected locations.

These efforts are making an impact and while still too high, it’s good to see the amount customers are losing to scams fall.

Turning to financials, this was a strong half.

Off the back of record results in 2023, cash profit was down just 1% on the previous half.

We strengthened our balance sheet increasing Common Equity Tier 1 ratio to 13.5% and we maintained our collective provision balance above $4b, still 20% higher than pre-Covid.

Return on Equity was 10.1% or 10.7%, excluding the capital held to purchase Suncorp Bank.

Revenue was flat half-on-half but with the mix shifting towards Institutional, offsetting a more subdued domestic retail market, showing the benefits of diversification.

Expenses were very well managed, growing only 1% despite absorbing annual wage uplifts and price increases from technology vendors in particular.

Credit costs remain remarkably low. While that’s true across the industry, we are confident our transformed and de-risked customer base is delivering sustainably lower credit costs.

Institutional grew revenue again and posted record return on equity domestically and internationally. Customer revenues in markets performed particularly well, growing 30% half-on-half, with most of the growth coming from our international network, again demonstrating the benefit of diversification.

The Institutional pivot from a lending business to one built around digital payment and currency platforms has transformed underlying performance and positions us beautifully for better long-term growth with sustainably higher returns.

New Zealand delivered consistently yet again, Australia Retail produced strong growth in home loans, without leading on price, and Commercial continued to deliver our highest return on equity while growing loans 7% and deposits 3% versus the prior year.

And finally, we further simplified the group, selling 16.5% of AmBank. This added to our already strong capital base, providing the opportunity to return $2bn to shareholders via the buy-back announced today.

Reflecting the overall strength of our result and confidence in the future, the Board announced a higher dividend of 83 cents.

As mentioned, we executed key priorities well: Suncorp, Plus, Platforms and the Productivity required to fund it all.

So, let me talk to each in turn.

The Australian Competition Tribunal authorised our proposed acquisition of Suncorp and legislation has been introduced in Queensland to allow it to proceed.

These are important milestones, and we commend the Queensland government for recognising the significant benefits the transaction brings.

That said, we still have conditions to meet, including passing that legislation, and approval from the Federal Treasurer.

We’re almost two years into this process and while taking longer than anticipated, we are using the time productively and are more confident of the substantial benefits that will flow.

It’s a bit like training for a marathon. Race date got postponed but we kept training, and now we are fitter and faster.

For example, we are piloting a Generative AI tool to radically reduce the time to compare, contrast and harmonize, thousands of terms, conditions, procedures, policies and contracts of Suncorp Bank and ANZ, which will accelerate and de-risk integration.

Going well, we expect to finalise the acquisition in August and will then provide an update on the timing and scale of benefits.

The digital transformation of Australian Retail is gathering pace.

Two years ago, I shared our ambition for ANZ Plus to become more attractive, engaging and secure for customers, and more efficient and resilient for shareholders.

It’s clear we’ve made good progress.

On average, we attract 35,000 customers every month, around half of which are new to ANZ. Despite rapid growth, average deposits have held consistently at about $20,000. As of yesterday, we had almost 700,000 customers on Plus, approaching $14 billion in deposits, which is 8% of our retail deposit base.

Net promoter scores are consistently higher than peers and customers are highly engaged with 47% using at least one of our financial wellbeing features.

ANZ Plus Home Loans are in market, in limited release, and we recently completed final regulatory steps to allow us to increase volumes.

As we build scale more generally, our cost to acquire and cost to serve on Plus continue to fall and are now 45% and 30% below ANZ Classic, with the gap increasing.

The economics are compelling, but the strategic value of Plus is our ability to pivot and innovate at pace.

One of those pivots is preparing for Suncorp where we will build out propositions on Plus to match and exceed Suncorp services so we can safely move their customers to ANZ, leveraging scale and maximising synergies.

Looking ahead, we’re already exploring and piloting Generative AI across ANZ Plus to provide better tools to manage money, resolve enquiries, provide property valuations and detect fraud.

Another key focus is leveraging our Institutional platforms.

As you know, ANZ operates one of the largest payment platforms in the region, processing around 60% of Australia and New Zealand correspondent clearing payments, providing services to 90% of the world’s globally systemic banks. We process $164 trillion in payments in, out, and around the markets in which we operate every year, more than 60 times the GDP of Australia.

Built for Institutional, these platforms are now used by other divisions and customers to drive scale and grow revenue.

While Australia and New Zealand remain core, our international network is critical for growth and already 3 of our largest payments customers are Asia based, with international payments growing an impressive 8.5% over the year.

More broadly, we continued to grow payments market share with digital payments up 7% versus a year ago, and NPP agency payments up 20%.

Payment’s innovation is essential to sustain success, and we recently extended leadership, becoming the first major bank to go live with a natively built, API-enabled, PayTo service for billers in Australia.

This allows businesses to send a payment request to their customers via secure digital platforms, which customers can then review and accept. It’s safer, faster, and cheaper, but to be successful, requires the scale of a leading payments platform like ANZ.

The other driver of sustainable success is the volume of payments processed via customer systems directly integrated into ours. Once integrated, these channels are difficult to replicate, and these volumes grew strongly at 11% compared to a year ago and 39% over 2 years.

None of this investment and growth is possible without productivity.

For example, in Australian home loans, we’ve leveraged automation to reengineer processing, and in this half improving productivity by 13%, further improving turnaround times.

And partners and customers notice, with our broker NPS increasing to a record level, and market share rising. 

Another good example are the 3,000 engineers using Generative AI co-pilot tools to rewrite bank software, delivering material gains in engineering productivity.

Finally, optimising our workforce across 29 markets is also key to efficiency.

We have the largest offshore operations and technology capability of any Australian company with 10,000 colleagues across Bengaluru and Manila who augment our skills in cyber security, transaction processing, sanctions checking, engineering, judgmental credit, generative AI and predictive analytics.  They will have an increasingly important role to play as we grow.

Overall, ANZ has a good track record on productivity – it’s a core capability as opposed to spotty interventions in response to a crisis. We are the only major Australian bank to have held reported costs at or below those of 2016.

Looking ahead, as a well-managed, de-risked and diversified group we are well positioned to manage through what remains a complicated environment.

The global economy has been resilient in the face of major shocks with wars in the Ukraine and Middle East.

This year, 40% of the world votes in elections across countries that generate around 50% of global GDP. Despite tension, surprises to date have been few, and credible transitions of power evident. But ongoing conflicts, geopolitical tension and more active industry and trade policy interventions continue to impact us all.

China’s economy is adjusting to structurally lower growth, but the region is adapting as capital is redirected elsewhere and other Asian economies raise their presence in global supply chains. ANZ is a beneficiary of that shift.

Closer to home, the Australian economy is resilient. Consumption has slowed, but investment and government spending are robust, unemployment low and consumer confidence has improved.

While growth is unlikely to pick-up this year, strong household and corporate balance sheets suggest a hard landing is unlikely. In Australia, liquid household assets exceed total household liabilities by the largest amount in at least 25 years.

Clearly these are aggregate numbers, and the challenge for the community, is around the disbursement of wealth and debt. Our customer’s, however, are generally better off than most and that’s why we don’t see the levels of stress one might expect given headline economic indicators.

Housing remains challenging and even with public support, it is the weakest stream of investment activity, reducing labour mobility and raising social pressures.

Competition for labour and materials in construction and infrastructure remains vigorous. We estimate the major project pipeline in Australia will exceed $100 billion by 2026, from around $40 billion pre-pandemic.

Around half of that growth is in electricity, highlighting the commercial opportunities presented by climate transition.

That’s a huge opportunity for us as Australia’s leading Institutional bank, with our strength intermediating regional capital flow and #1 market positions in project finance, trade, debt capital markets, corporate FX and sustainable finance.

Our diversified portfolio, unique global network, engaged work force and fortress balance sheet, combined with careful customer selection, means we are well positioned to deliver despite uncertain times.

Looking ahead, our priorities are clear.

We will continue to run the Group prudently, using our strength to support customers and leverage opportunities from our network.

Pending authorisation, we will acquire Suncorp Bank.

We will grow ANZ Plus, while deepening customer engagement.

We will grow our Commercial business, leveraging our points of difference, and extend our Institutional Banking lead in Sustainability, Currency, and Payments.

We will invest in productivity, building capacity for the future.

And finally, we will continue to foster a diverse and supportive culture focused on living our purpose, to shape a world where people and communities thrive.

I am confident we are in an excellent position to deliver value for shareholders, customers, and our people, whatever may come.

With that, I’ll hand over to Farhan.

Consumer confidence: persistent weakness

Source: ANZ statements

• Consumer confidence decreased 0.6pts to 80.5pts. The four-week moving average fell 0.3pts to 81.4pts.

• ‘Weekly inflation expectations’ fell 0.3ppt to 5.0%, while the four-week moving average was down 0.1 ppt to 5.1%.

• ‘Current financial conditions’ (over last year) increased by 1.4pts and ‘future financial conditions’ (next 12 months) rose 2.1pts.

• ‘Short term economic confidence’ (next 12 months) fell 1.1pts and ‘Medium term economic confidence’ (next five years) decreased 3.3pts.

• The ‘time to buy a major household item’ subindex was down 1.9pts.

ANZ to buy-back up to $2 billion of shares

Source: ANZ statements

Capital impact

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited’s (ANZBGL) reported Level 1 and Level 2 Common Equity Tier 1 capital (CET1) ratios as at 31 March 2024 were 13.4% and 13.5% respectively.  After taking into account the impact of the Suncorp acquisition and the buy-back, ANZBGL’s pro forma Level 1 and Level 2 CET1 capital ratios as at 31 March 2024 would be 12.2% and 11.8% respectively.

The on-market share buy-back is expected to reduce ANZ’s Level 1 and Level 2 March 2024 CETI ratios by approximately 54 and 46 basis points respectively.[1]

Retail shareholders can contact Computershare for further information on 1800 11 33 99 or +613 9415 4010.