The ASB is reviewing its operations following the Australian Royal Banking Commission report which was scathing of behaviour by institutions, including the bank's parent, the Commonwealth Bank.

ASB chief executive Vittoria Shortt said the bank was looking at which of the 76 recommendations could apply here.

''Anything that does we will absolutely take on board and test our own model. It is something that we have always done (and) will continue to do.''

The ASB today announced a net profit of $630 million for the six months ended December 31, a 6 per cent increase on the same period the previous year.


''What are we doing to make sure there are good customer outcomes? - that's the starting point. We want to make sure that we continue to review all of our incentives to make sure they are appropriate,'' she said.

Revelations of shonky practices across the Tasman during the last 18 months had already led to changes here, in particular changes to incentive schemes.

Last year the ASB removed leaderboards and individual targets for selling financial products from branches ''to make sure that the perception that it might not be the right thing'' was addressed, she said.

The bank was also spending more time analysing complaints, which had increased slightly in number since the spotlight was turned on the banking sector's behaviour.

She said the bank took comfort from a review of the sector by regulators here last year which found none of the systemic problems exposed in Australia.

''New Zealand is a different market, we have different regulators, independent boards, we have different products.''

Finance industry commentators say mortgage broking here could face a shake-up though.

Shortt said the bank didn't disclose the proportion of brokers it used but they were an ''important part'' of its business and an important part of customer choice.


''But I would also add that it's important for brokers to do the same work that we're doing and considering their incentives and make sure that they feel good about them being appropriate and align with good customer experiences in the way we are.''

Shortt warned that fallout from the commission report, the Tax Working Group, whose recommendations are widely expected to include a capital gains tax, and Reserve Bank proposals to require financial institutions to hold higher capital reserves, could have unintended consequences.

Access to credit could tighten.

''Significant changes to the financial system can have significant unintended consequences,'' she said.

''You do have to be very careful about what changes are made in what timeframe - it's not the individual proposed changes. But its the combination of all the changes at once that requires a lot of attention.''

She described the six-month result as a ''solid'' one which reflected a healthy economy and a diversified business whose operations across the board were consistently contributing.

''It reflects the fact that we've got a very solid and stable economy here in New Zealand, that is absolutely the starting point.''

However, loan impairments had risen by 73 per cent to $45 million.

While still low due to a healthy job market, they did reflect some difficulties some dairy farmer customers were experiencing.

And although demand for home loans was strong, prices in the Auckland market were cooling.

''While the fundamentals of the economy remain sound, we have observed a cooling housing market, weaker business sentiment and softening immigration,
combined with an uncertain global outlook," she said.

''We are consistently seeing good opportunities in the home loan market. One of the things we'll be keen to understand are the recommendations of the Tax Working Group. If a capital gains tax is proposed it would be important to understand what the flow-on impacts would look like.''

Shortt said she expected a continuation of the intense tussle between lenders which has seen some mortgage rates dip below 4 per cent.

The ASB was ''comfortable'' with the number of branches it had and while there could be tweaks, there wouldn't be substantial changes.

ASB parent the Commonwealth Bank saw a 6 per cent fall in its net profit A$4.6 billion ($4.8b) for the half year, stemming from costs associated with fixing historic misconduct issues as well as tighter margins and rising costs.

This result was slightly below expectations.