Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has reported a cash profit of A$2.78bn for the half year ended 31 March 2016, a 24.3% fall from A$3.67bn a year ago.

The bank’s statutory profit after tax for the period was A$2.74bn, a decrease of 22% compared to A$3.50bn in the prior year. The bank said that the fall in profit was driven by an A$717m net charge, mainly related to initiatives to reposition the group for stronger profit before provisions growth in the future.

Gross Loans and Advances during the period increased 0.7% to A$566bn from A$562bn in the first half of 2015. Customer Deposits increased 2.5% year-on-year to A$447bn from A$436bn.

The bank’s common equity tier 1 ratio in the first half of 2016 stood at 9.8%, compared to 8.7% during the same period in 2015.

ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott said: "This result reflects a challenging period for banking and we have taken the opportunity to move decisively and adapt to the changing environment by building a simpler, better capitalised and more balanced bank.

"We have strong underlying drivers in our Australia and New Zealand consumer and small business franchise and we have seen good early progress in transforming Institutional Banking. This has been supported by prudent capital management and tight control of costs with total expenses, excluding the impact of Specified Items, being lower for the first time in seven halves."