$17.5b in profits for big banks

AUSTRALIA'S big banks will announce nearly $17.5 billion in full-year profits over the next two weeks, rounding off a record reporting season for the sector.

But the results come against a backdrop of rising tension in Europe's financial markets, while in Australia the rate of annual lending growth has slowed to near three-decade lows.

The subdued lending environment - mostly as a result of consumers and businesses being more cautious towards debt - means revenue growth is the biggest challenge faced by the sector.

Despite signs of life appearing to have returned to the critical business lending market since the middle of the year, latest figures show commercial loans fell 0.9 per cent in the year to August.

By comparison, mortgage growth is tracking at 5.8 per cent over the same period, although strong competition between banks hasn't been enough to reverse a slowdown in recent months.

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Topics:  anz banking commonwealth bank nab westpac bank

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