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AU$1.3b transformation spend reaps rewards for Westpac in H1

Westpac has reported AU$4.2 billion in after-tax profit for the first half of FY18, up 7 percent year on year after spending AU$1.3 billion on transforming the bank over the past 12 months.

"Over the past 12 months, we have continued to make progress on our service-led strategy, including adding over 370,000 new customers and making it easier for customers to manage their money. We have invested over AU$1.3 billion in delivering new services to customers and upgrading the bank's infrastructure," CEO Brian Hartzer told shareholders Monday.

For the six-month period, net interest income was AU$8.3 billion, while net operating income was AU$11.2 billion. Revenue was up 4 percent to AU$11.2 billion.

Operating expenses were reported as AU$4.8 billion. Operating expenses increased by 2 percent -- AU$92 million -- during the half, thanks mainly to the Banking Royal Commission currently underway, salary increases, and the higher technology spend, the bank said.

Technology expenses increased AU$23 million compared to the second half of 2017; technology services costs rose AU$42 million and software maintenance and licensing costs were also up AU$17 million, driven by programs including the customer service hub, Panorama, and enhancements to the bank's technology infrastructure, Westpac told shareholders.

AU$40 million was spent on software maintenance and licensing costs for the customer service hub, Panorama, and the New Payments Platform.

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