Australia's CommBank sees profits shrink

Australia's CommBank sees profits shrink

Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Australia's largest financial firm Commonwealth Bank said profits fell six per cent in the last six months of 2018. (AFP/PETER PARKS)

SYDNEY: Australia's largest financial firm Commonwealth Bank on Wednesday (Feb 6) said profits fell six per cent in the last six months of 2018 amid a "challenging environment" for the business.

In the first earnings report since a high-profile inquiry into Australia's vastly profitable banking sector, the Sydney-based firm said it made almost Aus$4.6 billion (US$3.3 billion) in net profit in the July to December 2018 period - the first half of the 2019 financial year.

That was down six per cent versus the same period in the previous year.

Revenues slowed, crimped by a slowdown in the housing market and increased competition.

Storms in New South Wales and Victoria cost the bank an estimated Aus$61 million.

The earnings numbers, which fell below most market estimates, come just days after a Royal Commission pilloried the banking sector of ripping off its customers.

Chief Executive Office Matt Comyn said it would take a while to work through all the recommendations from the inquiry, but he vowed to take a constructive approach.

"We are already making the necessary changes and will be a better bank as a result," he said.

Commonwealth Bank has around 16 million customers and employs 48,000 staff.

Source: AFP/de

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