August 12, 2019 / 3:08 AM / 7 days ago

Australia's Bendigo and Adelaide Bank FY earnings hurt by remediation, property downturn

(Reuters) - Australian mid-sized lender Bendigo and Adelaide Bank posted a 6.6% fall in annual cash earnings on Monday, citing higher remediation costs and losses for its reverse-mortgage unit Homesafe due to falling house prices.

Australia’s residential property market has slumped amid tighter lending conditions, higher taxes on foreign buyers and an apartment glut, putting a drag on consumer spending.

That has increased pressure on Homesafe, which is based on the reverse-mortgage loan model - where homeowners draw down the equity in their homes in exchange for cash.

The company also said it had incurred remediation costs of A$16.7 million ($11.3 million) for the year, including legal bills in relation to misconduct revealed by a public inquiry into financial sector wrongdoing last year.

For the 12 months ended June 30, cash earnings - which exclude one-off gains or losses - fell to A$415.7 million from A$445.1 million a year ago.

Net interest margin, a key gauge of profitability that measures the difference between interest paid on deposits and earned on loans, remained unchanged at 2.36%.

The bank maintained its final dividend at 35 Australian cents per share.

($1 = 1.4756 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin and Stephen Coates

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