CEO's Review


The Group continued to focus on supporting its customers and has again delivered significant benefits to its people, its shareholders, business partners and the wider Australian community in the 2011 financial year.

Highlights

A continued disciplined approach to the execution of the Group’s five strategic priorities has resulted in the Group delivering a cash net profit after tax for the year of $6,835 million, up 12 percent – a good result in what remains a challenging operating environment.
 

The Group continues to hold high levels of capital and liquids, is well funded and maintains a conservative approach to provisioning.
 

We have continued to balance the needs of our customers and shareholders. In a year where global financial markets were volatile and unpredictable we wrote over $90 billion in new loans and advances, the majority of which were to retail and small business customers, at competitive interest rates and at the same time, reducing or eliminating a range of fees.
 

Once again, the result is testimony to the consistent, disciplined and effective execution of our strategic agenda, highlighted by continued high levels of investment in the business over the past year.



Dividends

A final dividend of $1.88 per share was declared – an increase of 11 percent on the prior year. The total dividend for the year was $3.20, taking the dividend payout ratio (cash basis) for the year to 73.2 percent. The Group’s Dividend Reinvestment Plan will continue to operate but no discount will be applied to shares issued under the plan for the 2011 final dividend.



Supporting the Community

The Group has a strong tradition of supporting the community through a wide-range of charitable donations, sponsorships and other activities, and I am pleased that we have once again been able to demonstrate this commitment through these measures. It is times like this that financially strong organisations have the capacity to support communities in need.


The Group provided financial support of $67 million to support our customers and community groups affected by natural disasters in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and Christchurch.



Strategic Priorities

Our commitment to our strategic priorities is evidenced by the fact we have consistently invested in the long term future of the business, notwithstanding the short term challenges we have faced.


Once again in the past year, we have invested over $1 billion in key strategic projects. These initiatives enhance customer experience and drive further process and productivity improvements. The Group’s largest single investment, the four year Core Banking Modernisation programme, remains on schedule and achieved significant milestones during the year.


We have made real progress on our strategy, highlighted by:
  • Significant improvements in customer satisfaction levels

  • Strong gains in the number of products held per customer

  • The effective delivery of our Business Banking growth strategy

  • The execution of value-generating profitable growth opportunities, including targeted expansion through Asia

  • Outstanding staff engagement, and

  • A significant investment in technology.

Our focus on our priorities has resulted in us being recognised with numerous awards including 2011 Money Magazine’s Bank of the Year for the second year in a row, Australian Banking and Finance’s Australian Financial Institution of the Year, Australian Business Award for the Best Service Provider in Financial Services and the Customer Service Institute of Australia’s award for Best Customer Service for a Large Company.


Conclusion

This will be my last result as I will be retiring on 30 November 2011. It has been a privilege to have been CEO and Managing Director and I have enjoyed the many challenges we have faced over the past 6 years, many that were unanticipated, such as the Global Financial Crisis.
 

My focus has always been on our customers, staff, and the community. By delivering real benefits to them, we have delivered over the past 6 years sector leading returns to our almost 800,000 shareholders and many millions more Australians indirectly through their superannuation funds. The ongoing success of our business is a tribute, I believe, to the disciplined approach we have taken to the execution of our five strategic priorities.
 

I am delighted to congratulate Ian Narev on his appointment as Chief Executive Officer. Ian has an outstanding record of academic and business achievement and is an excellent choice to take the Group forward. I wish Ian all the best and I am very confident about the future under Ian’s leadership.


Thank you for the support that has been offered to me over my 6 years with the Group.

Ralph Norris
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
10 AUGUST 2011