Westpac Banking Corp holds its AGM: Here’s what you missed

The Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) share price has climbed higher on Friday following its annual general meeting in Sydney.

At the time of writing the shares of the banking giant are up just under 1% to $31.62.

What was said?

While it was a reasonably low key event with little by way of market-moving statements, investors appear to be pleased with Westpac’s outlook.

Westpac Chairman Lindsay Maxsted advised that the bank remains positive about the Australian and New Zealand economies in 2018, albeit with slower growth expected due to construction cycle peaks and weak wage growth continuing to weigh on consumers.

He expects more of the same for the banking sector with tightening credit standards and regulatory limits on mortgage growth likely to lead to slower growth in lending and deposits.

However, asset quality is expected remain sound and the bank intends to continue with its low risk approach.

Mr Maxsted did take this opportunity to take a swipe at the bank levy. Stating his belief that it discriminates against Australian banks relative to global peers and is not in Australia’s best interests.

The bank intends to continue to work towards the removal of the “highly inefficient and distortive tax.”

Finally, Mr Maxsted stated that the bank welcomes the Royal Commission and expects it to play a role in restoring trust, respect, and confidence in Australia’s financial system.

Should you invest?

Westpac is my first pick of the banks ahead of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) right now. However, I would suggest investors wait for a slight dip below $31.00 before making an investment. At that level I feel it offers a compelling risk/reward and great mix of a value and income.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro owns shares of Westpac Banking. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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