Brian Hartzer: Westpac will be disciplined in managing its margins and costs

Brian Hartzer. Supplied.

Brian Hartzer, the new CEO of Westpac, says he’s positive about the outlook for Australia’s second largest bank but will be running the business with discipline.

“We’ve been disciplined in the way we’ve managed our margins and our costs,” he said at his first briefing for analysts since replacing Gail Kelly as head of the bank.

Westpac today posted a flat and below expectation first half cash profit of $3.778 billion. Market analysts had forecast $3.88 billion from Australia’s second largest bank. Revenue was up 2% to $9.997 billion. Statutory net profit was $3.609 billion.

While there are some headwinds ahead, Hartzer was positive about the economic growth outlook for Australia with low interest rates, a lower dollar and support from the housing industry.

Hartzer says banking competition will remain intense, including from new entrants.

“When I look at every business across the franchise, we are moving in the right direction to achieve this and are delivering for all stakeholders,” he said when releasing the bank’s half year results. “That, combined with the disciplined way we are managing the business, gives me confidence in the future.”

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