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HSBC profits down despite digital growth

Matthew Finnegan | Aug. 5, 2014
Revenues through digital channels increases 12 percent.

HSBC has increased the volume of digital transactions through its retail and wealth management businesses by 12 percent in the past six months, as it focuses on lowering costs through more efficient processes.

In its interim results for the period up to 4th August, HSBC saw its profits fall to $12.34 billion (£7.33bn) from $14.071 billion the previous year, with the bank pointing towards the price of meeting "unprecedented" regulatory demands.

Despite this, it said its underlying costs grew by only 2 percent, due in part to a major programme to simplify business processes and save £2 billion, begun in 2011.

"Society's expectations of the financial services industry are evolving and becoming more demanding," the bank said in its report.

"At the same time, digital technologies are making it easier for new entrants to join the industry and markets are becoming increasingly competitive.  

"In this environment, it is essential that we focus relentlessly on improving efficiency, ensuring that all parts of the Group streamline their processes and procedures and, as a consequence, reduce their costs."

HSBC highlighted its investment in technology as a means to reduce internal cost, with double digit growth in sales and transaction revenue through digital channels between December 2013 and May 2014.

This included increased uptake of its mobile banking app - reaching 4.3 million downloads worldwide, including almost two million in the first half of the year.

It also pointed to the launch of products and services to help improve customer experience and reduce costs, including a mobile cheque deposit system in the US, and the Paym mobile payments service in the UK.

In May, HSBC installed free WiFi at 650 branches around the UK to help its customers get online via mobile devices while they bank.

It is also believed to be investing £119 million to support start-ups with a focus on financial technology.

Source: Computerworld UK


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