New Zealand report, a message from Graham Hodges
ANZ National Bank Limited (NZ) CEO Graham Hodges

Graham Hodges on a very different business model

"Nearly three years ago ANZ acquired The National Bank in New Zealand, to become ANZ National. At the time, we said it would be a very different acquisition, and it has been. The biggest point of difference was our decision to keep both the ANZ and The National brands, which surprised a lot of people.

Three years on, that has proven to be absolutely the right strategy, as more customers bank with ANZ National than before the merger, and revenue attrition was much lower than we anticipated. We have also managed to retain a stable and experienced management team. With the integration period now over, our focus has shifted from defending our customer base to growing the business.

Just as we had a very different approach to the acquisition and integration, we are taking a very different approach to our new focus on growth. We have retained our specialised business model which drives a focus on customer needs and solutions. Our portfolio of nine brands, of which ANZ, The National, and UDC are the largest, enhance our customer reach and open up new growth options.

When we combine our brands together, we are by far the biggest player in the market. Our scale provides us with the ability to invest more than our peers in areas such as customer analytics and product innovation, and to provide support to customers looking to grow. Our size also means we have a wider range of challenging roles. This helps us to attract the best talent in the market. In a people industry like banking, that is essential.

With our ongoing investment in the business, the commitment of our people, and the results we have already achieved together, I am confident that we have a strong future in New Zealand.”

Just as we had a very different approach to the acquisition and integration, we are taking a very different approach to our new focus on growth.

Our financial performance

(NZ$m) 2005 2006 %
Income 2,571 2,756 7%
Operating Expenses (1,181) (1,254) 6%
Profit before Provisions 1,390 1,502 8%
Provison1 (157) (20) (87%)
Tax & OEI (394) (476) 21%
Profit after Tax 839 1,006 20%
Cost to Income(CTI) 45.9% 45.5% -
Staff (FTE) 9,333 9,392 1%

1 Provision for Credit Impairment

This year we had a much improved financial performance from our New Zealand business, with earnings up 20% in New Zealand dollar (NZD) terms. Revenue growth of 7% was driven by 13% growth in lending assets, and 5% growth in deposits. The New Zealand market continues to be competitive, with net interest margin down 21 basis points over the year, although margins stabilised in the second half.

We have continued to invest in our business, with expense growth of 6%, however our Cost to Income ratio still improved from 45.9% to 45.5%.

The credit quality environment in New Zealand remains healthy, and as a result the provision for credit impairment fell 87% to just NZ$20 million.

While profit was up 20% in NZD terms, a weakening in the NZD actually resulted in the Australian dollar profit being up 14%.