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Originally published Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 7:20 PM

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Westpac half year profit rises 11 percent

Westpac Banking Corp., one of Australia's largest banks, has posted an 11 percent rise in half-year profit to 3.3 billion Australian dollars ($3.4 billion) as it pursued growth opportunities for deposits.

The Associated Press

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SYDNEY —

Westpac Banking Corp., one of Australia's largest banks, has posted an 11 percent rise in half-year profit to 3.3 billion Australian dollars ($3.4 billion) as it pursued growth opportunities for deposits.

The Sydney-based bank's profits for the six months to March 31 announced Friday were up from AU$2.9 billion for the same period a year earlier.

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly said the results showed the benefits of the bank's strategy of targeting high growth opportunities in the sector.

She said in a statement, "The operating environment continues to be challenging, with subdued lending growth."

Australian banks proved resilient against the global economic downturn and remain among a handful of banks in the world to maintain AA credit ratings.

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