The following is a transcript of a video interview with ANZ Chief Executive Officer Shayne Elliott discussing ANZ’s first quarter 2017 trading update which was released today.
The interview was conducted by Andrew Cornell, Managing Editor of BlueNotes, ANZ’s digital publication for news, opinion and insight and can be viewed at www.bluenotes.anz.com
Andrew Cornell Good morning Shayne. Thanks very much for joining us again on BlueNotes on the morning of the trading update. It looks a very solid result - particularly strong growth in retail and commercial in Australia; good deposits growth; good markets performance. Were you happy with the composition and is it sustainable?
Shayne Elliott Yes, we’re pretty pleased with the result. I mean it’s early days, it’s the first quarter of the year and we’re going through quite a transformation at ANZ but yes, we’re really pleased with how the year has started. We’re getting growth in right areas – the areas that we committed to, the areas where we want to grow and we’re seeing the performance, even in global markets, are coming through exactly where you would expect them to be. There’s been a little bit more volatility, a little bit more customer activity, and so that is I think a really pleasing way to start the year.
Andrew Cornell When we look at revenue and growth in particular – for a long time we’ve warned about a low-growth environment, to expect a low-growth environment. Given the background of what you’ve said in the past, is it that we’re growing too fast even?
Shayne Elliott I don’t know that we’re growing too fast. I think that the reality is that the economy has slowed down a little bit and Australia’s still a great place to be; New Zealand’s a great place to be; Asia’s a great place to be. But the growth rates have just tempered down a little bit and we’ve seen that. And that affects our business – we reflect the state of the economy by-in-large and you see across the banking sector revenue growth, asset growth, lending growth – it’s all just been a little bit more subdued than we’ve been used to. And that puts the onus on us to be just even more focused on productivity and efficiency to ensure that we can continue to deliver great things for customers but also deliver a decent result for shareholders.
Andrew Cornell And indeed one of the real strengths here looking at the numbers is that cost performance. You’ve made significant change in the 14 months or so that you’ve been here now. Can you talk us through those cost reductions and should we expect more? You mention that the point of this is to pass on the cost reductions.
Shayne Elliott We’ve had a view that the world that we live in is just slowing a little bit and therefore, as I said, in that view we’ve got to be even more efficient if we want to win and be winning with our customers.