Smith trumpets ANZ's Asia focus

Lender's CEO says Asian opportunities underpin ANZ's global performance.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ) chief executive officer Mike Smith has backed the lender's vigorous push into Asia, saying the region is the a key driver of global growth, as well as now a key driver of ANZ’s growth.

Mr Smith told shareholders at the lender's annual general meeting, the opportunities being created by Asia’s growth underpins the group's growth and performance in every country that it operates in including the major domestic franchises in Australia and in New Zealand.

"It provides us with the options to focus on both returns and growth, and by doing so deliver long-term value creation for our shareholders," he said.

"It means that the value of our business is much more than the sum of the individual parts and shareholders will increasingly invest in ANZ, not just as an Australia bank yield play but
also as a growth stock."

Mr Smith said the lender's super regional strategy was about building a "better bank for customers and a better bank for shareholders".

"It’s a long-term strategy and our progress in 2013 and the initiatives we have in place, leave me confident that there’s more ‘gas in the tank’," he said.

He added the lender's four priorities for the coming years were; improving the customer experience, continuing to diversify revenues, a focus on driving productivity and increasing shareholder returns.

Earlier, ANZ announced David Gonski would succeed John Morschel as chairman from May 2014.