Making banking easy pays dividends for shareholders
Shareholders attending Bendigo and Adelaide Bank's Annual General Meeting have heard a united effort to improve growth, funding and efficiency drove the Bank's strong performance in 2010/11.
In August, the Bank announced its full year results with a net profit after tax of $342.1 million, cash earnings of $336.2 million, cash earnings per share of 92.3 cents and a final dividend of 30 cents per share (full-year dividend of 60 cents per share).
During his address to shareholders, Managing Director, Mike Hirst, said the Bank's solid results were largely driven by its focus on making it easier for customers to do business with the Bank.
"Each day our people have reflected on what they do and how they can improve our business, to make the experience of our more than 1.5 million customers a better one", Mr Hirst said.
"It's this approach that has seen the Bank continue to record industry-leading customer satisfaction, advocacy results and a rating upgrade."
Chairman, Robert Johanson spoke about the continued volatile economic environment and some of the challenges that lay ahead for the banking industry.
"At the end of last financial year, it seemed our markets had settled, but the last few months have rattled the markets and reinforced Australian consumer's efforts to reduce their debt and increase their savings.
"As a result, some banks talk of pay freezes, redundancies and cost reductions with the expectations of growth fading fast.
"However, our Bank will continue to focus on the long-term, making smart investments which will build our business and position us well for the future," he said.
Mr Hirst outlined some of the challenges facing banks globally and underlined the importance of continuing to invest in the business.
"I think it is relatively easy to mount a case to say that banks could soon be under threat from new entrants, something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago given the high barriers to entry provided by physical branch networks, significant technology investment and the "flight to quality" during the GFC.
"As a business we are small enough to be flexible, have a business model that differentiates us from our competitors and stakeholders who are committed to investing in our business for the long term."
"Successful banks must be connected to their customer base in a way that is relevant to their customers' needs, if they are to be valued.
"An engaged customer base is fundamental for any business as its industry undergoes change," Mr Hirst said.
Shareholders voted to elect new director Jacqueline Hey, change non-executive director fees and approve the Company's remuneration report. However, the motion to endorse amendments to the constitution was not carried due to objections from shareholders to some elements of the resolution.
"We believe a number of shareholders were concerned about the proposal to cap the maximum number of directors at 10, and as a result the required 75 percent of the vote was not achieved," Mr Johanson said.