Australia markets closed
  • ALL ORDS

    6,986.80
    +4.10 (+0.06%)
     
  • ASX 200

    6,715.40
    +0.10 (+0.00%)
     
  • AUD/USD

    0.7708
    -0.0071 (-0.91%)
     
  • OIL

    52.04
    -1.53 (-2.86%)
     
  • GOLD

    1,827.70
    -23.70 (-1.28%)
     
  • BTC-AUD

    48,470.60
    +1,596.25 (+3.41%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    701.93
    -33.21 (-4.52%)
     
  • AUD/EUR

    0.6378
    -0.0019 (-0.29%)
     
  • AUD/NZD

    1.0798
    +0.0028 (+0.26%)
     
  • NZX 50

    13,024.69
    -91.18 (-0.70%)
     
  • NASDAQ

    12,803.93
    -94.76 (-0.73%)
     
  • FTSE

    6,735.71
    -66.25 (-0.97%)
     
  • Dow Jones

    30,814.26
    -177.26 (-0.57%)
     
  • DAX

    13,787.73
    -200.97 (-1.44%)
     
  • Hang Seng

    28,573.86
    +77.00 (+0.27%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    28,519.18
    -179.08 (-0.62%)
     

NAB boss tips economy to fire in 2021

Steven Deare
·2-min read

NAB chief executive Ross McEwan expects the Australian economy will be back to pre-COVID levels by the end of next year, but acknowledges some of the bank's customers face a long struggle.

Mr McEwan on Friday gave an upbeat outlook to 2021 and cited the September GDP gain of 3.3 per cent and bank research.

"We now think the economy will be back to 2019 growth levels by the end of 2021," he told NAB's annual general meeting, held online.

"That's about a year earlier than we previously thought."

He said the economic activity anticipated late next year equated to the bank's best case scenario from its planning earlier this year.

Chairman Philip Chronican said the bank was in a much better economic environment than anticipated a few months ago.

Their comments came before most states and territories imposed coronavirus restrictions on travellers from Sydney or NSW. An outbreak has infected 28 people in the state capital.

NAB has had its challenges. Full-year profit slumped more than 45 per cent amid the pandemic.

The organisation also set an additional $1.86 billion aside for bad debts that could arise.

NAB reported 90 per cent of customers who had loan repayments deferred, amounting to $60 billion in loans, had since resumed repayments.

Yet not all customers are recovering financially.

Mr McEwan said he had written to 5.8 million customers in the past few weeks to offer help.

"Most will just need a bit more time to recover," he said.

"But some customers' situations have changed permanently."

Mr McEwan and Mr Chronican were optimistic but guarded about dividends returning to regular levels about a total payout of 60 cents per share for 2020.

"We will resume paying at higher levels when it's right to do so," Mr McEwan said.

Mr McEwan has tried to focus the NAB's activities on banking and has reduced the number of projects.

He said the sale of MLC Wealth to IOOF, due next year, was the last major structural change.

Shares were down 1.87 per cent to $23.40 at 1425 AEDT.