HSBC, Europes biggest bank by market value, reported Monday that its first-half profit rose 22% as it reaped the benefits of restructuring and reduced loan losses in the United States.
In the U.S., loan impairment charges were down to $1.3 billion, or 29%, compared with the first half of 2012. The decrease reflected improvements in the housing market and lower delinquencies. The bank, which gets more than 60% of its income from Asia, reported its net income rose to $10.3 billion in the first half of the year from $8.4 billion in the year-ago period. Its shares fell, however, on concern about growth in China, a key market. The bank last month brushed off fears that a slowdown in China's economy would hit its growth and at the time said annual profit should grow at just short of its 10% annual target after a decent second quarter.
HSBC also reported it cut costs by $800 million during the period, taking annual savings to $4.1 billion since the start of 2011. The bank sold a $3.7 billion non-real estate loan portfolio in the period.
Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said in May he will redouble his efforts to drive down costs and could cut 14,000 more jobs as part of his push to lift profitability and streamline the complex bank. Gulliver said the banks priority is to implement a global standard of conduct and compliance.
The focus on ethics comes after the group agreed to pay almost $2 billion last year to settle a money-laundering case involving illicit drug money from Mexico. It also handled assets belonging to Iran and to Libya. The bank has struggled to clear its name and restore its reputation.
Gulliver, who is two and a half years into his cost-reduction drive, had cut 46,000 jobs by May and sold or closed 52 businesses. He is expected to continue to retreat from countries where HSBC lacks scale. The bank said in May that employee numbers could fall to between 240,000 and 250,000 by 2016.