HSBC Sets Aside $2 Billion for Legal Woes as Profit Falls
HONG KONG — Profit at HSBC Holdings dropped nearly 9 percent in the first half of the year, as the big bank deals with the fallout from a money laundering investigation and a settlement over selling inappropriate financial products.
On Monday, HSBC said that it had set aside $700 million to cover the potential fines, settlements and other expenses related to a money-laundering inquiry in the United States. The bank made a further $1.3 billion provision toward a regulatory settlement related to payment protection plans for credit card loans, home mortgages and other consumer borrowings.
The legal woes weighed on the company’s financial results.
In the first half the year, HSBC announced net income of $8.4 billion, down from $9.2 billion in the previous year. HSBC’s operating income rose slightly, to $43.6 billion, over the same period.
“I very much regret HSBC’s past failures and I apologize for them. Our controls should have been stronger and more effective,’” Mr. Gulliver said Monday. ‘”We are committed to doing whatever it takes to make sure the organization is able to detect and prevent unacceptable behavior.”
Even so, HSBC’s final legal bills could rise.
On Monday, the British bank’s chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, indicated there was “tremendous uncertainty” around the money laundering case, and the “number could be significantly higher.” He called the $700 million provision “a best estimate based on the facts that we currently know.”
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