The downturn in the housing market has hit the profit of regional lender Newcastle Permanent, which recorded a 19 per cent fall in annual net profit after tax over the past financial year.
The Perm released its annual results for 2018/19 on Thursday, posting a net profit after tax of $35.1 million, down from the $43.8 million result of 2017/18.
Newcastle Permanent chair Jeff Eather said the result reflected the housing market downturn in the year.
"Our net profit after tax is a reduction on the prior year, reflecting the impact of subdued housing growth, the low interest rate environment, and intense competition," he said. "The result also included increased investment in strategic projects to deliver digital transformation for the benefit of customers, one-off costs associated with customer remediation work and restructuring of parts of the business to support future customer value."
Bernadette Inglis replaced Terry Millet as chief executive on July 1.
"In recognition of the difficult trading conditions and consistent with our strategy, we have maintained our focus on delivering sustainable business growth this year," Mr Eather said.
"With a future-focussed strategic direction and Bernadette at the helm, we look ahead with every confidence in Newcastle Permanent's ongoing success as we transform into a leading provider of banking services in the digital era, with a clear focus on our customers.
"A key measure of financial strength, our capital adequacy ratio is 20.1 per cent which affords us the opportunity to continue to invest in the future, deliver sustainable customer value over time and navigate challenging conditions with the long-term in mind rather than putting short-term profits before customers."
Ms Inglis said highlighted the balance of the results with customer and community outcomes achieved throughout the year.
"We constantly aspire to deliver exceptional customer service, and our customer metrics remain market-leading," she said.
"We remain committed to a significant digital transformation program to strengthen and future-proof our services to help customers do their everyday banking more easily and ultimately, to reach their financial goals as a critical commitment to our customer service."
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