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Back in black: Bendigo Bank customers restart loan repayments

Business

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank may be beginning to bounce back from a tough 2020 with Australia’s fifth-largest retail bank this morning announcing more than two-thirds of customers who deferred loans earlier in the year have now resumed their repayments.

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The bank assisted more than 25,000 personal and commercial accounts worth $6.9 billion during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of the company’s AGM today, the bank said only 6797 customer accounts remained on deferral as at October 16, down 69 per cent from the May 31 peak and down 63 per cent since August 31.

It expects this trend to continue for the remainder of October and into November as more repayment deferral periods expire.

About 65 per cent of the deferred accounts are from residential and consumer customers with the remainder commercial support packages.

Not surprisingly, about half of the support packages went to Victorian customers.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Managing Director Marnie Baker said the bank was adequately provisioned to manage through the pandemic.

“Pleasingly, the number of and balances of COVID-19 support packages have significantly reduced, including in Victoria, as the bank continues to work individually with customers on repayment deferral arrangements,” she said.

“It’s rewarding to see our personalised support has enabled more than two-thirds of these customers to get back on their feet and we are further encouraged by the Victorian Premier’s announcement to re-open Melbourne’s retail and hospitality industries from tomorrow.”

It has been a difficult year for Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

The company’s share price was $11.50 at the start of August last year but fell during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic to bottom out at $5.47 on March 24.

It has recovered somewhat since and began trading today at $6.67 with a market capitalisation of $3.54 billion.

In August it posted disappointing full-year results, citing low interest rates and COVID-19 for the poor figures.

Statutory net profit was down 48.8 per cent to $192.8 million while cash earnings after tax were $301.7 million, down 27.4 per cent.

However, total income on a cash basis was up 0.9 per cent to $1.61 billion, total lending was up 5.1 per cent to $65.3 billion and total deposits up 5.7 per cent to $67.7 billion.

Agribusiness lending was up 1.3 per cent despite challenges to Australian agriculture such as ongoing drought and summer bushfires.

But bad and doubtful debts reached $168.5 million and were influenced strongly by a COVID-19 collective provision of $127.7 million.

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