ANZ Bank chief executive Shayne Elliot has promised better days are ahead for shareholders after dividends were greatly reduced this year.

Mr Elliot on Wednesday acknowledged some may have thought allowing customers struggling during the pandemic to defer loan repayments may have been at shareholders’ expense.

“The answer is clear – this was completely aligned with shareholder interests,” he told the bank’s annual general meeting.

“Treating customers with respect and providing help in the tough times earns respect and loyalty in the good times.”

Shares were up 2.0 per cent to $23.43 at 1148 AEDT.