Pedestrians walk past HSBC signage outside the bank's Indian head office in Mumbai/ File
Pedestrians walk past HSBC signage outside the bank's Indian head office in Mumbai/ File

Foreign bank HSBC on Tuesday reported a 1.78 per cent increase in its profit before tax from (PBT) India in 2020 at USD 1.024 billion, to emerge as the third most profitable for the lender after Hong Kong and mainland China.

The profit growth came despite an increase in provision for credit losses in the year dominated by the pandemic, the bank said in a statement, pointing out that money set aside for losses for wholesale advances almost doubled to USD 94 million, while the same for retail more than doubled to USD 54 million.

The overall number of employees in India for HSBC went down by 1,000 to 39,000 people, the bank, which hires locally to support both local and international operations, said.

Its overall revenues from India were up 17 per cent, while the country reported a 20 per cent rise in the wholesale banking revenues, it said. The country was the fifth-largest profit contributor globally in 2019.

The adjusted revenue from India stood at USD 3 billion in 2020, the bank said.

From a segmental perspective, profits before tax from global banking and markets were at USD 593 million as against USD 533 million in 2019, commercial banking saw moderation at USD 187 million from USD 201 million in the year-ago, wealth and personal banking saw a sharper decline at USD 16 million from USD 67 million while PBT delivered by corporate centre increased to USD 228 million from the USD 205 million levels in 2019.

The wealth and personal banking performance were impacted by the pandemic in card spends, wealth and mortgage disbursals, it said.

With the gradual unlocking of the economy post lockdown, it has witnessed an upside on credit cards spend, the bank said, adding similar trends noticed in monthly mortgage and personal loan disbursals which are steadily approaching pre-COVID levels.

The lender intends to grow its share in transaction banking, including trade and forex exchange driven by digital and new supply chain solutions, it said.

Under the wealth segment, it also wants to expand its insurance and asset management businesses and also spelled out an ambition to be the number one foreign bank for non-resident Indians and also break into the top-10 in insurance.

For the overseas Indian consumers, it intends to grow NRI hubs enabled by digital and remittances proposition, it said.

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