Commonwealth Bank’s CommInsure life insurance unit has been charged with 87 counts of unlawfully selling life insurance policies over the phone. Picture: Hollie Adams
Commonwealth Bank’s CommInsure life insurance unit has been charged with 87 counts of unlawfully selling life insurance policies over the phone. Picture: Hollie Adams

CBA $4.5bn H1 profit beats expectations

Commonwealth Bank has beaten market expectations with a $4.48 billion first-half cash profit amid pressure from record low interest rates and rising costs.

Australia's biggest bank beat the $4.34 billion figure that had been tipped by analysts, but a flat net operating income result, as well as higher expenses, and a 12.5 per cent increase in loan impairments meant the figure for the six months to December 31 was 4.3 per cent down on last year's $4.68 billion.

Group net interest margin was up one basis point at 2.11 per cent, which the bank said had helped it to hold its interim dividend at a fully-franked $2 per share.