National Australia Bank, Australia's largest lender, said Wednesday its full-year net profit fell 42.9 percent on bad debts, though the bank's CEO remained positive amid signs economic conditions were stabilizing.
Net profit for the year ending Sept. 30 fell to 2.59 billion Australian dollars ($2.37 billion) from AU$4.54 billion a year earlier, the Melbourne-based bank said in a statement.
Annual charges for bad and doubtful debts rose to AU$3.8 billion, up AU$2.3 billion from a year ago. Group cash earnings fell to AU$3.84 billion from AU$3.92 billion.
Still, CEO Cameron Clyne called the result "solid" given the difficult market conditions stemming from the global financial crisis, and said there were signs of improvement, with consumer and business confidence on the rise.
"What we're seeing is that there are a couple of signs _ things are starting to stabilize," he told reporters.
NAB declared a final dividend of AU$0.73 cents a share, down from AU$0.97 cents a year earlier.