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10 p.c. earnings lift reflects community focus, AGM hears

27 October 2014 |Media centre

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank's 10 per cent growth in cash earnings reflected the strength of its customer franchise, Managing Director Mike Hirst told the bank's Annual General Meeting today.

"Our customers have continued to support us strongly, recognising the tangible value of our great service and community contribution, with Community Banks reinvesting more than $125 million and growing by $20 million a year," Mr Hirst said.

"As a result, in a year where most competitors suffered margin squeeze, we were able to increase ours by five basis points, the standout result in the sector. That's a testament to the strength of our franchise and the capability of our team.

"This outcome was reflected in a ten per cent increase in cash earnings, continuing our strong and steady earnings momentum. Our shareholders have been rewarded, with the dividend being lifted by two cents in the final half.

"This was possible because of the foundations we have laid over the past few years when we have been focused on consolidating and strengthening the business whilst also making investments for the future."

One such investment was the redy mobile payments system which has seen the bank and its subsidiary Community Telco Australia recognised in domestic and international innovation awards.

"We are both immensely proud of redy and immensely excited at its potential. We've already demonstrated it to a number of large and interested businesses in Australia and redy has even generated international interest.

"redy is Apple Pay-like only better, because not only does it employ cutting edge security technology, it is embedded with the ability to reward usage with monetary credits that customers can direct straight into community projects. It's like carrying a Community Bank® in your hand."

Chairman Robert Johanson told the meeting Bendigo's submission to the Financial System Inquiry argued that banks should be incentivised to act as enablers of broad national prosperity.

"We have argued that the competitive disadvantage suffered by those deposit-takers using the standardised model under Basel II, must be corrected so that the playing field is even. This is the only way to ensure consumers have a wide choice of organisations to bank with.

"The security and stability of the financial system is a paramount requirement but we also need to ensure our industry is open to new and smaller participants."

The meeting re-elected director Jacquie Hey, who retired by rotation.

Director Jenny Dawson announced her retirement from the Board and was praised by Mr Johanson, who described her contribution over 15 years as "immense".

The meeting passed all resolutions and the remuneration report.

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