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Profits for Australia's biggest bank shrink after year of costs and controversies
Last Updated: 2018-08-08 18:00 | Xinhua
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Stakeholders of Australian financial giant the Commonwealth Bank of Australia are licking their economic wounds on Wednesday after the company's full-year cash profit fell 4.8 percent.

Plagued by regulatory scandals, huge fines and ongoing investigations, the bank still managed to post a 9.2 billion Australian dollars (6.8 billion U.S.) profit for the 2017-18 financial year.

However, for Australia's largest company, this figure represented its lowest profit growth for almost a decade.

Trouble for the financial institution culminated back in June, when it was hit with the largest ever civil penalty for a private Australian company.

After a lengthy investigation, Australia's financial intelligence agency found the bank had breached federal money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws on more than 53,500 occasions due to lapse monitoring of their Intelligent Deposit Machines from November 2012 to September 2015.

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) also accused the bank of not properly monitoring 778,370 accounts.

As a result, the Commonwealth Bank was slapped with an enormous 700 million Australian dollars (520 million U.S.) fine.

On top of this, the Australian government also established a Royal Commission into banking which got underway this year to investigate illegal and unethical practices within the financial sector.

In reply, the Commonwealth Bank shelled an extra 389 million Australian dollars (289 million U.S.) in order to boost its compliance provisions.

"It has been a difficult 12 months," Commonwealth Bank chief executive officer Matt Comyn said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange on Wednesday.

"There has been a number of one-off items that have impacted the result, including a couple of large penalties that we have resolved."

"If you strip some of those out, actually the result looks more from an underlying perspective up 3.7 percent."

"I think given the context of what we have had to operate in, it really does show the resilience of our core franchise and it is a combination of both that, as well as our outlook on our capital position, which has enabled us to declare a full final year dividend of 4.31 Australian dollars (3.20 U.S.), up two cents."

Even with Wednesday's lackluster news, the Commonwealth Bank's share price was up 2.59 percent at 14:15 (AEST), to sit at 74.93 Australian dollars (55.67 U.S.) per share.

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