Top broker downgrades Australia and New Zealand Banking Group shares

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The bank posted an 18 per cent rise in annual profit to $6.94 billion after a year in which it and its rivals hiked interest-only mortgage rates in response to regulatory intervention to limit risky lending.

Net or statutory profit, which includes one-off items and other charges, rose 12% to $6.406 billion.

ANZ reached the in-principle settlement on Monday and said it would disclose the amount in its full-year results.

"We're really making sure that we put our resources - whether they are intellectual resource, our financial resources - to work where we can make a difference and we can win", Mr Elliott said.

The bank said its net interest income (NIM) fell $223 million, which is said was largely due to a fall in the NIM of 8 basis points to 1.99 cents in the dollar from 2.07 cents.

"Although we had a strong business, the external environment was changing faster than we were and our customers, the community and our shareholders expected much more from us".

"That's why we have been transforming ANZ, getting ready for that".

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Fewer products on offer for customers and staff efficiency has helped drive ANZ to a profit of $1.86 billion over the past year. ANZ reported $278 million in restructuring expenses for the year.

ANZ's New Zealand staff shrank to 7,755 as at September 30 from 7,869 a year earlier, although the bulk of that is in the group's Kiwi banking division where full-time equivalent staff was trimmed to 6,207 from 6,317 a year earlier.

"Today, we are at the mid‐point of executing a multi‐year transformation of ANZ", says Elliott.

This morning a research note out of Citi revealed that its analysts have downgraded the bank?s shares following its full-year results release yesterday.

A final fully franked dividend of 80 cents a share, a payout ratio of 68% of cash profit, was declared.

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