Strong balance sheet and customer focus will pay dividends for shareholders
Shareholders attending Bendigo and Adelaide Bank's Annual General Meeting have heard how investment, funding and efficiency continued to drive the Bank's performance in 2011/12.
In August, the Bank announced its full year results with a net profit after tax of $195 million, cash earnings of $323 million and a final dividend of 30 cents per share fully franked.
During his address to shareholders, Managing Director, Mike Hirst, said these results reflected the challenges faced by Australian banks.
"The Bank's core revenue generating businesses of retail, third party banking wealth and rural banking continued to perform well, and we have been determined in our efforts to improve the funding and capital profile of our Bank,'' Mr Hirst said.
"However, low demand for credit, driven by individuals and business looking to strengthen their financial position against uncertain economic outlook, makes it difficult to grow revenue whilst maintaining profitability.
"Regulatory changes requiring higher capital combined with lower interest rate levels will see lower returns for banks than those prior to the Global Financial Crisis.
"Through the capital raising to support the Bank of Cyprus Australia (BOCA) acquisition, non-dilutive actions such as the sale of our stake in IOOF and lower rated securitised notes, and through the current offer of Converting Preference Shares, we have strengthened our balance sheet in readiness for new regulation under Basel III.''
Chairman, Robert Johanson, spoke about continued volatility in the world economic environment and the challenges that still lay ahead for the banking industry.
"There's no doubt that this industry will continue to face tough times, as increased regulation has given banks less appetite for risk and lending while customers are reducing debt and decreasing demand for credit,'' Mr Johanson said.
"The error made by some of our competitors has been to stop investing in people and the business, and we believe our continued investment in growth and innovation has placed our balance sheet in the strongest position it's ever been.
"Australia is in an enviable position compared to the rest of the world and our company is well-placed to drive our business and we look forward to the next five years,'' he said.
Mr Hirst told shareholders how investment and innovation will improve the banking experience of more than 1.5 million customers, complementing its customer-connected vision.
"Customers want the flexibility to shape their relationship, contacting the bank whenever and however they choose and the freedom to control their financial life,'' he said.
"Our significant investment in a customer relationship management system means we can make relevant and valuable offers to our customers, while our investment in NoQ is one example of fulfilling their demand for technology-driven services.
"Looking forward, online banking, payments and social media are areas of focus for the business and we are committed to invest because we can see the long-term value for our customers and shareholders.
"Our strategy will ensure than we are relevant and connected to our customers and communities and, as a result, valued by them,'' he said.
Shareholders voted to re-elect directors Jenny Dawson, Deb Radford and Tony Robinson and approved the Company's remuneration report and amendments to the constitution.