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Australia’s largest financial firm Commonwealth Bank on Wednesday said profits fell six percent in the last six months of 2018 amid a ‘challenging environment’ for the business.
In the first earnings report since a high-profile inquiry into Australia’s vastly profitable banking sector, the Sydney-based firm said it made almost Aus$4.6 billion (US$3.3 billion) in net profit in the July to December 2018 period – the first half of the 2019 financial year.
That was down six percent versus the same period in the previous year.
Revenues slowed, crimped by a slowdown in the housing market and increased competition.
Storms in New South Wales and Victoria cost the bank an estimated Aus$61 million.
The earnings numbers, which fell below most market estimates, come just days after a Royal Commission pilloried the banking sector of ripping off its customers.
Chief Executive Office Matt Comyn said it would take a while to work through all the recommendations from the inquiry, but he vowed to take a constructive approach.
‘We are already making the necessary changes and will be a better bank as a result,’ he said.
Commonwealth Bank has around 16 million customers and employs 48,000 staff.