Kiwibank's annual profit dropped 6% with the bank blaming banking fee reductions, bill paying services returning to NZ Post, and lower insurance income. Loan impairments also increased.
Kiwibank's net profit after tax for the year to June dropped $7 million to $108 million from $115 million last year.
“Kiwibank is adjusting its business strategy to meet the changing preferences of customers. We are investing in our own branches where customers wish to interact with us face-to-face, as well as developing our technology capabilities,” CEO Steve Jurkovich said.
“We had a record year for lending and deposit growth, margins generally remained firm, but profits were down slightly. A contributing factor was a reduction in fee income which is great for our customers,” said Jurkovich.
"With strong customer growth and the investment in technology that we are undertaking, we expect this to flatten profitability until we have migrated to the new technology platforms," he added.
Jurkovich said growth stemmed from more customers joining Kiwibank, contributing to a $34 million increase in net interest income. Net interest income rose $34 million, or 8%, to $445 million. However, net fee and other income dropped $29 million, or 24%, to $90 million. Overall, operating income was down $1 million year-on-year to $538 million.
Operating expenses rose just $2 million to $375 million. Annual loan impairments rose to $12 million from just $1 million last year, which the bank attributed to "select business loans."
Kiwibank's cost-to-income ratio rose to 69.7% from 69.2%, its net interest margin increased to 2.11% from 2.06%, and its return on equity dropped to 6.4% from 7.3% with this attributed to the reinvesting of retained profit.
Lending growth 12%, deposit growth 13%
Over the course of the June year lending growth rose a net $2.1 billion, or 12%, and net deposit growth rose $2.1 billion, or 13%. Total assets increased $2 billion, or 10%, to $22.7 billion, total liabilities rose $1.96 billion, or 10%, to $21.2 billion.
The bank's common equity tier 1 capital ratio dropped to 12.4% from 13.4% of risk weighted exposures. Kiwibank cited strong balance sheet growth as the reason for this. The minimum Reserve Bank requirement is 7%. Kiwibank's total capital ratio was 14.5% at June 30, down from 15.8% a year earlier. The minimum requirement is 10.5%.
Lower revenue was partly driven by $12 million drop in banking fees, plus non-bank products such as bill pay being returned to shareholder NZ Post, which lowered income by $7 million. Kiwibank's income from insurance payments was $12 million lower.
“Kiwibank is adjusting its business strategy to meet the changing preferences of customers. We are investing in our own branches where customers wish to interact with us face-to-face, as well as developing our technology capabilities,” Jurkovich said.
“Kiwibank and New Zealand Post businesses are responding to different customer demands. Although sometimes challenging, this move to increased independence for Kiwibank brings opportunity. In simplifying our business, we can focus on the areas that make the biggest difference for our customers and their long-term financial wellbeing."
“Our first home buyer package makes the difficult jump into home ownership much more achievable and over the past year we have helped almost 2,000 first-time buyers into their new homes," Jurkovich added. “With highly competitive rate offers we have also assisted 3,305 customers to switch to us."
Business lending push
Meanwhile Jurkovich noted at a push to grow business lending. Kiwibank said business lending grew 36% year-on-year.
“Helping small and medium businesses operate and grow has always been a core focus, but increasingly over the past 12 months we have been able to support some of New Zealand’s larger businesses. The coming year will see new capabilities and with that Kiwi businesses can choose to partner with a New Zealand bank rather than an offshore-owned option," Jurkovich said.
Kiwibank's shareholders are the Accident Compensation Corporation with a 22% stake, NZ Post with 53%, and the NZ Super Fund with 25%. Kiwibank paid a $25 million annual dividend this year, compared to no dividend last year.