PHOTO: Commonwealth Bank

Australia’s Commonwealth Bank has reported an astonishing annual profit of $10.2 billion, showcasing an impressive growth of six percent in the fiscal year ending on June 30. This record-breaking statutory profit, including investments, underscores the bank’s decision to eliminate cash withdrawals at select branches and implement a series of 12 mortgage rate increases in just over a year.

Despite economic challenges, the bank’s core operations yielded a cash profit of $10.164 billion, marking a notable ascent of six percent over the previous year. This achievement coincides with the introduction of cashless branches that have ceased over-the-counter banknote transactions, contributing to the bank’s remarkable performance. The statutory net profit of $10.188 billion, a five percent increase from the prior year’s $9.673 billion, highlights the incorporation of commercial investments.

Matt Comyn, the CEO and an advocate for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, observed a substantial increase in his annual compensation, with his pay rising by an additional $3.5 million to reach $10.426 million.

The significant profit figure has stirred controversy, with Acting Greens leader Mehreen Faruqi describing it as “absolutely obscene” given the prevailing high inflation rate of six percent. Faruqi emphasized that everyday individuals, particularly renters, are disproportionately affected by these corporate profits that contribute to inflation.

The Commonwealth Bank explained its profit growth in part by reducing occupancy and equipment expenses by three percent. This reduction was attributed to the optimization of digital, branch, and ATM networks, along with the consolidation of property resources, including the exit from certain commercial office spaces.

In an effort to streamline operations, several branches, including those in Darling Harbour, South Eveleigh, Barangaroo, the University of Sydney, and Penrith, have transitioned to a cashless approach, with a focus on specialized services. This shift is also being extended to certain branches in Brisbane and Melbourne. The cashless strategy coincided with a series of interest rate hikes by the Reserve Bank of Australia, leading to an 11-year high of 4.1 percent, the twelfth increase in just over a year.

Notably, the Commonwealth Bank has fully passed on each official interest rate increase to borrowers. As a result, individuals with an average $600,000 mortgage have experienced a substantial 64 percent rise in monthly payments, surging to $3,789 from $2,306 since May 2022. Variable mortgage rates have climbed to 6.49 percent from 2.29 percent.

The bank proudly highlighted its low arrears rates, indicating that borrowers falling 30 days or more behind on monthly payments remain below long-term averages. This performance is attributed to a robust labor market and the presence of savings and repayment buffers.

Even prior to this earnings announcement, CEO Matt Comyn’s remuneration package had increased to $10.426 million, a remarkable 50 percent rise from $6.968 million.

Throughout this challenging period, Comyn emphasized the bank’s ability to uphold its customers while delivering sustainable returns to shareholders.


Key Financial Highlights for Commonwealth Bank:

  • Cash Profit: Increased by 5.9 percent to $10.164 billion from $9.595 billion
  • Statutory Profit: Rose by 5.3 percent to $10.188 billion from $9.673 billion
  • Full-Year Dividend: Climbed by 16.9 percent to $4.50 per share from $3.85 per share

Source: Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s full-year results for 2022-2023 in comparison to 2021-2022.