The Australia and New Zealand Bank ( ANZ) has reported record profits on the back of an expanding Asian portfolio and despite lagging domestic margins.
Profits have risen a full 10 percent in the first-half to the end of March as a jump in international and institutional business led by impressive figures out of China.
Revenue within Greater China (China, HK and Taiwan) rose almost a full quarter – 24 percent in the six months to March 31, 2012, compared with a year earlier.
Chief Executive of ANZ China, Dr Charles Li, told Xinhua that ANZ’s China operation capitalised on strong growth momentum in the first half of 2012.
“Our China business is on the right track…both onshore and offshore,” Dr Li said.
ANZ reported first-half underlying profit of over 3 billion US dollars, a result that stands in stark contrast to its domestic Australian numbers which fell 7 percent from the previous six months.
ANZ Chief Executive Mike Smith said weak credit demand and tightening margins had impacted domestic earnings, despite ANZ going it alone on interest rate cuts.
He said, “These challenges are now an ongoing part of the Australian banking landscape.”
However, the news is nothing but promising for ANZ’s canny foray into China, where the lender is the first Australian bank to get an official go ahead to use the Chinese currency RMB in its retail operations.
Dr Li told Xinhua that the “stronger connectivity” made China a strategic market for ANZ to achieve its aspiration to become a super regional bank.
“ANZ has a long-term commitment towards the China market and continues to invest in China to strengthen our capability and foundation to serve our customers in the future.
“We have secured regulatory approval of retail RMB license for local residents recently, becoming the first Australian bank in China to be fully licensed to offer a wide range of RMB-related products and services for retail customers.” Dr Li said.