NAB’s earnings fall short of forecasts as profits tighten due to pressure on home lending.

Despite the downturn in earnings, newly appointed NAB CEO Andrew Irvine suggested that the intense competition in the home loan sector, which had been squeezing margins, might be showing signs of alleviation. Irvine, who recently took the helm at National Australia Bank, revealed a double-digit profit decline for the half-year ending in March. In its latest half-yearly report released on Thursday, cash earnings for the period dropped by 12.8 percent compared to the previous year, totaling $3.5 billion, falling short of consensus forecasts. As Australia’s second-largest bank, NAB announced an interim dividend of 84 cents per share, fully franked, and also disclosed plans to double a share buyback initially announced last August, increasing it to $3 billion.

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