Aussie bank announces $5bn profit amid hundreds of local branch closures

Commonwealth Bank announces a massive $5 billion cash profit after closing hundreds of branches and ATMs, signalling further financial strain for borrowers.

Aussie bank announces $5bn profit amid hundreds of local branch closures
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The Commonwealth Bank has reported a staggering cash profit of $5 billion for the last half of 2023, a result overshadowed by the closure of 354 branches and removal of 2,297 ATMs over the past five years.

Despite expectations from the market for a higher profit, Chief Executive Matt Comyn expressed concerns about the increasing challenges faced by customers in managing cost-of-living pressures.

"Increasingly challenging for many of our customers who are finding it harder to absorb the cost of living pressures," Comyn stated, highlighting the financial strain that many Australians are experiencing.

He also predicted a rise in mortgage repayment delinquencies, attributing it to the consecutive interest rate hikes by the Reserve Bank.

While shareholders received a dividend of $2.15 per share, representing a 2% increase from the corresponding period in 2022, the bank's net profit margin decreased by 11 basis points to 1.99%.

CBA attributed this decline to heightened competition, increased wholesale funding costs, and a shift by customers towards higher-yielding deposit accounts.

Amid record profits, the closure of a third of CBA's branches since June 2018 has raised concerns.

The bank's decision to shut down more branches in major cities like Adelaide, Gold Coast, and Sydney underscores its transformation to 'changing consumer behaviours and preferences,' despite customer fears the big banks are accelerating the shift towards a 'cashless society.'

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  • By Avi Yemini

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