Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) shares are dipping in early afternoon trade, down 0.59%.
The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO), meanwhile, has managed to pull back from earlier losses and is currently up 0.77%.
Below we take a look at a few highlights from CommBank’s 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM).
What did CommBank’s Chairman say at the AGM?
Matt Comyn, CommBank’s CEO, and Catherine Livingstone, CBA’s Chairman, both presented at the AGM.
Livingstone commenced, noting that the bank, established early in the 20th century, was intended to be for all Australians.
She said, “This role has never been more relevant than over the past year, with CBA having supported thousands of individual and business customers impacted by COVID-19.”
Livingstone also noted the move to online transactions since early 2022:
Over the course of the pandemic, our customers have embraced digital banking in record numbers, which has helped us tailor our support, and improve our understanding of individual needs.
Then there is the ever-growing emphasis on sustainability. According to Livingstone:
We recognise that commercial, environmental and social outcomes are interconnected, and that balancing the interests of stakeholders involves achieving positive outcomes in all dimensions.
During the past year, we have strengthened our approach to sustainability, including updating our Environmental and Social Framework, which sets out, for our people, as well as our stakeholders, the standards we have set.
On the financial end of the spectrum, Livingstone pointed out:
Cash net profit after tax was up 19.8 per cent on the prior year, reflecting an improvement in economic conditions, and the strong operating performance of our core banking businesses.
During the year, the Bank continued its program of divestments of non-core businesses, in line with its strategy to become a simpler bank. The divestment program has now generated $6.2 billion of excess capital since it began in 2018.
She also addressed the bank’s $6.2 billion of dividends paid out over the past financial year, and CBA’s off-market share buy-back, which returned another $6 billion to CBA shareholders.
What did CommBank’s CEO say at the AGM?
Matt Comyn, addressing the financial end, said, “A deliberate and sustained focus on customers, digital engagement and operational excellence helped us grow operating income by 2 per cent, reflecting above-system growth in home and business lending, and deposits.”
He noted that the bank lent $11 billion more to businesses than it did in FY20, with better overall economic conditions leading to “significantly” lower loan impairment expenses.
Looking ahead, Comyn said there’s reason to be optimistic:
The stimulus provided by our governments during lockdowns has been doing its job. Australians continue to accumulate more savings and many businesses are ready to take advantage of opportunities ahead.
Housing activity is still strong. We are continuing to monitor this closely and adjust our lending settings appropriately. Finally, we’re seeing digital technology enable a raft of changes, which come with both opportunities and risks.
If you’d like to view the webcast of the AGM, you can do so here.
How have CBA shares been moving?
CBA shares are up 24% year-to-date, compared to a gain of 9% posted by the ASX 200.
Over the past month, shares in the big bank are up 3%.