Elliott: dealing with uncertainty from a position of strength

ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott says the bank entered into the COVID-19 crisis in the best possible shape.

Speaking to bluenotes via video-link, Elliott said the bank’s core businesses are performing well while capital and liquidity levels are strong.

"We don’t know what the future holds, there is an enormous amount of uncertainty. But we’re in very good shape to be able to deal with that uncertainty.” - Elliott

“That really should give a lot of optimism and confidence about our ability to stand up and do the right thing by our customers - but also the broader economy,” he said.

“We don’t know what the future holds, there is an enormous amount of uncertainty. But we’re in very good shape to be able to deal with that uncertainty.”

ANZ’s cash profit for continuing operations was $A1.41 billion, down 60 per cent with the prior comparable period. The statutory profit after tax was $A1.55 billion in the full year, a 51 per cent decrease.

Click here for a transcript of this video

On the deferral of ANZ’s dividend, Elliott said the board took a very prudent decision to say now is just not the right time to be making such a huge decision.

“[The board] decided to defer the decision about making a dividend until later in the year when we will have more insight into the economic impacts and the ramifications for the bank,” he said.

“We’re here for the long-term and it’s in the long-term interest of shareholders that ANZ not only just survives but actually is well prepared for whatever situations may come.”

Elliott said the bank’s support for customers and the broader economy was strongly aligned to governments both in Australia and New Zealand.

“Given the nature of what we do, and the breadth of our operations, and the way that we’re an integral part of the economy, what’s good for Australia and what’s good for New Zealand is good for ANZ,” he said.

“It’s in our interest that our customers have the wherewithal to get through [this] and come out the other side in decent shape… That is in the interest of the economy, that is in the interest of the government, that is in the interest of our regulators, and it’s absolutely in the interest of our customers and our shareholders.”

Elliott said the bank is already working hard and using the experience and insights of past crises to enable the eventual rebound of the economy.

“Sadly in banking we do experience crises actually with some reasonable regularity. They look different, they have different sources and they transmit differently through the economy… All you can do is be prepared… [and] make decisions very, very quickly.”

You can hear more of the conversation in the video above.

Andrew Cornell is Managing Editor of bluenotes

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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