Business lending drives Westpac profit

Westpac is the latest bank to report a record profit for the year to September, with an after-tax result of $3.45 billion, up 12 per cent from the previous year. Shares in the bank gained 52 cents to close at $31.06 after reporting strong growth, particularly in business lending and its wealth management division. Total loans grew by 16 per cent and deposits by 19 per cent. The banks mortgage book expanded by 12 per cent while business lending was up 16 per cent. Revenue leaped by 9 per cent while growth in costs was limited to 6 per cent driving Westpac's cost-to-income ratio to a new low for the bank of 45 per cent.

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