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ANZ staff reduction offset expenses

ANZ has posted unaudited cash profit of $1.85 billion for the first quarter of its financial year, saying its technology investment and other expenses were offset by staff reduction.

In a statement, the bank said the unaudited cash profit during the three months to 31 December 2015 was up four per cent on the prior corresponding period. Statutory net profit was $1.6 billion.

ANZ said: "Income grew at a faster rate than expenses, with expenses well contained; technology investment and wage inflation were largely offset by a 2.5 per cent reduction in staff numbers."

Meanwhile, the bank's wealth business benefited from stable life insurance lapse rates, which it said were offset by investment market volatility. Corporate banking, however, was impacted by higher funding costs and competition, the statement said.

ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott said: "We have seen very good performances in our retail and small business segments however corporate borrowing demand remains subdued."

"With the environment presenting a number of challenges, the new management team has taken action to reduce costs, to tightly manage the credit environment and capital, and to simplify and reposition the business.

"Our performance in the first quarter was supported by strong expense and margin management, and further progress will be apparent in the group's financial performance during the balance of the year."