LENDING & CREDIT | Jason Oliver, Australia

ANZ bad debts double to AUD$1.37 billion

Ex HSBC banker and now ANZ chief Mike Smith may be regretting pumping AUD1$million into his bank last year, given the bank just blew its profit forecast and cash profits fell by $716 million.The outlook for bad loans in the second half of the fiscal year was "difficult" and the bank won't meet an earlier forecast to limit provisions to between 2.4 billion and 2.5 billion Australian dollars for the entire 2008-09 fiscal year, said Smith in a report by MarketWatch.The bank’s interim dividend was also cut from 62 cents last year to 46 Australian cents a share. Meanwhile, analysts' average expectations for cash profit were at 1.19 billion Australian dollars according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey.

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