Bendigo and Adelaide Bank used its annual general meeting to provide shareholders with an update of its first quarter trading result and coronavirus support packages.
Managing director Marnie Baker said the bank is trading in "uncertain times", but was heartened by announcements of further easing of Victoria's coronavirus restrictions.
"It has given us confidence, but it's still an uncertain time," Ms Baker said.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank's full year 2020 financial result, published on August 17, revealed statutory net profit was down 48.8 per cent to $192.8 million, with cash earnings after tax down 27.4 per cent to $301.7 million.
Ms Baker said the full-year result was impacted by COVID-19, record low interest rates and investment costs required to support the delivery of its multi-year strategy.
The highlight of the first quarter update was the reduction in customer accounts on deferral.
As at October 16, 6796 customer accounts are on deferral, down 69 per cent from the peak on May 31.
More than 25,000 customer accounts were assisted since the onset of the coronavirus.
The value of accounts where repayments have been deferred is about $2.5 billion, down from a peak of $6.9 billion in June.
"Our first quarter update shows we have great momentum that started in the second half of the last financial year and has continued into this year," Ms Baker said.
"We have been able to maintain margin and that has increased growth, with lending growth a standout."
Year-to-date growth in total lending is 11 per cent above system, while residential growth is 16.1 per cent above system.
A challenge for Australia's fifth largest retail bank is managing costs in the business, Ms Baker said.
"There is an intense focus on maintaining efficient operations in our business," Ms Baker said.
The bank employees 7400 people nationwide, with about 1000 of those in Bendigo, the majority of whom work from home.
The board decided to defer its dividend decision, given the challenges that remain in the 2021 financial year.
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