Australian banks are 'almost embarrassed' to report huge profits, the Business Council of Australia (BCA) president says in the wake of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia's (CBA) record profit.
The CBA on Wednesday posted a $7.09 billion full year profit, the largest ever made by an Australian bank, but chief executive Ian Narev struck a cautious tone as he delivered the news on Wednesday.
'This is a good result given the uncertain environment,' Mr Narev said.
BCA president Tony Shepherd said Mr Narev's modest response to the profit was a distinctly 'Australian thing'.
'Companies are almost embarrassed (to report a major profit) ... particularly the banks,' Mr Shepherd told an Australian British Chamber of Commerce lunch in Melbourne.
'Companies aren't embarrassed in the (United) States about reporting a record profit, in fact the country will celebrate them.
'But we have this problem here with companies making a profit.
'The fact that our banks are profitable is one of the things that got us through the GFC (global financial crisis).
'Ian is quite correctly saying, I'm not sure how long this is going to last, our cost of funds is rising, business confidence and consumer confidence is low, and so we need to continue to work really hard to maintain our profitability.'
'But if he'd come out and said,We just shot the lights out with the profit,' everyone would be all over him.'