Europe’s biggest bank, HSBC, has said it could start charging for “basic banking services” after it reported a 35% fall in quarterly profits, the BBC reported yesterday. It said it was considering charging for products such as current accounts, which are free to UK customers.
The bank’s finance chief said HSBC was losing money on many of its customers in some markets. It also said it would accelerate its restructuring plan, cutting costs further than previously suggested.
But the lender, which is in the midst of cutting 35,000 jobs, did not say whether more jobs would now go. It said it would provide details on the plan with its full-year results next February. HSBC reported a 35% fall in pre-tax profit during the third quarter of the year to $3.1bn (£2.3bn), while revenues fell 11%. Along with other banks, HSBC has seen earnings hit amid an environment of rock bottom interest rates, and so is now considering other ways of boosting revenues.
“We will have to look at charging for basic banking services in some markets, because a large number of our customers in this environment will be losing us money,” chief financial officer Ewen Stevenson said. Despite the tough environment, HSBC chief executive Noel Quinn said there were some bright spots.
“These were promising results against a backdrop of the continuing impacts of Covid-19 on the global economy,” he said. “I’m pleased with the significantly lower credit losses in the quarter, and we are moving at pace to adapt our business model to a protracted low interest rate environment.”