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National Australia Bank posts record second-half profit

SYDNEY: National Australia Bank, the biggest in the country, posted a record second-half profit as lending increased in an economy that has entered its sixteenth consecutive year of expansion.

Net income climbed 1.8 percent to 2.44 billion Australian dollars, or $2.26 billion, in the six months ended Sept. 30 from a year earlier, the company said Friday. It also tapped demand for loans in Britain, where it earns almost 20 percent of its profit.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is New Zealand's central bank and has three main functions. At the most basic level, the Reserve Bank ensures that people can buy and sell goods and services using money, instead of having to barter. Part of this involves providing currency. Cash is physically issued to the public by commercial banks, but they in turn must buy their cash from the Reserve Bank.

Health insurance up in Australia

MORE Australians than ever are paying a penalty for failing to take out private health insurance before they turn 30. Figures from the Private Health Insurance Administration Council show more than 44 per cent of Australians have private hospital cover, after rates increased for the ninth consecutive quarter.

But the figures also showed the number of people paying an extra premium for their cover had increased. About 91.5 per cent of those covered have escaped the penalty, while the rest, almost 567,000, are paying a loading.

It's easy being green. Australasia investments

THESE days it's easy being green. Consumers who want to do something to help the environment have many options, such as solar power or water, environmentally-friendly light bulbs, rainwater tanks, or even purchasing some of their home electricity from renewable energy sources.

Investors and superannuation fund members also have a fast-growing list of options to ensure their money helps make the world a better place, or at least does not damage its fragile environment even further. Ethical investments, also known as socially responsible investments, are booming in popularity. The good news for investors is that returns have been as good or better than those provided by traditional investments.

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