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Elders finds going tough in first half

Elders finds going tough in first half

(4 February 2005 – Australia) Regional bank Elders Rural posted a small profit for the six months to December 31, 2004, beating the corresponding period a year earlier by just two percent. The bank reported a net profit of A$11.3 million and announced it would be expanding its footprint by pushing out its lending products to some 300 Bendigo Bank branches.

Elders managing director Bob Jones said using the Bendigo Bank network alongside the 400 Elders branches meant the bank would have extensive coverage of regional and rural Australia.

The bank said it had grown its customer base by 10 percent in the first half of 2005 to about 45,000 customers. Loans grew by five percent to A$1.95 billion, compared with A$1.85 billion a year earlier.

Deposits at the end of the half were A$2.098 billion.

Jones said Elders, which is a joint venture between Bendigo Bank and Futuris Corporation, had been impacted by aggressive pricing and the expectation of an official cash rate hike.

"Like other banks, the movement in our margins during the period reflects this," he said.

"However, notwithstanding this and the increased competition, Elders Rural Bank has finished the period with record interim profit, deposits and loans and an expanded customer base," Jones said.
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