NAB chief executive Ross McEwan expects the economy will be back to pre-COVID levels by the end of next year, but acknowledged some customers faced a long struggle.

Mr McEwan on Friday gave an upbeat outlook for 2021 and cited the September GDP gain of 3.3 per cent and bank research.

“We now think the economy will be back to 2019 growth levels by the end of 2021,” he said.

“That’s about a year earlier than we previously thought.”

The bank’s full-year profit slumped by more than 45 per cent amid the pandemic.

Shares were down 1.72 per cent to $23.44 at 1114 AEDT.