Australia's Westpac Banking booked a fifth straight year of record profit with an 8 percent rise in full-year cash earnings on robust loan growth and declines in bad debts.
Bolstered by a strong focus on mortgage lending, a rapidly growing property market and tight cost controls, three of Australia's "Big Four" banks have notched up five consecutive years of record income in current earnings season.
"Housing credit growth has increased over 2014 and we expect growth at similar levels to continue through 2015, driven by strong demand and continued low interest rates," Chief Executive Gail Kelly said in a statement.
Kelly said there were signs of improving prospects for non-mining investment and expected a moderate pick-up in business credit growth.
The nation's No. 2 lender by value said cash profit was A$7.6 billion ($6.64 billion), meeting the average forecast from seven analysts polled by Reuters. Revenues rose 7 percent in the year.
Net interest income, the difference of interest earned and paid out, rose 5 percent to A$13.5 billion, while net interest margin, a key measure of profitability for a bank, fell 7 basis points to 2.08 percent.
Impairment charges fell 23 percent, it said.
Expenses at Westpac grew at 6 percent, faster than revenues, while underlying profit and revenue growth came in below expectations, Omkar Joshi, a Sydney-based investment analyst at Watermark Funds Management, said in a note.