Banks report multi-billion profits

Banking groups Barclays and HSBC have hailed their “strong” first-half revenue performances and brands despite reporting different profit fortunes.

Barclays reported an 8% increase in pre-tax profit to nearly £3bn for the six month to 30 June, boosted by a 100% uplift at investment arm Barclays Capital, which registered pre-tax profit of £1.04bn.

Despite the overall group uplift, profit from the firm’s UK retail banking operation dipped, down 61% to £268m in “a tough economic environment”.

HSBC half-year pre-tax profit dipped 51% to $5bn (£3bn) as the group was hit by rising bad debts in the US, Europe and Asia.

However, pre-tax profit in Europe rose by 59.3% to almost $3b (£1.8bn).

Both banks have recently made senior marketing appointments in their UK retail banking divisions.

Last month, Barclays promoted its director of response based marketing, Emmet Burns to head of marketing for its UK retail banking operation to replace Dave Jeppesen while HSBC appointed Brendan Cook to the new role of head of customer management.

John Varley, chief executive of Barclays, says the group needs to stay “close to our customers and clients” to ensure the company continues to be successful.

HSBC says it is “proud” of its “strong global reputation”, citing the bank’s recent placing as the number one banking brand by Brand Finance.

“Because of this powerful brand and our excellent team of people, we can be confident that customers will continue to choose HSBC for deposits, borrowing and all other financial services,” HSBC says.

Neither bank has taken Government aid in the wake of the financial crisis that engulfed rivals Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group, both of which are now part-owned by the taxpayer.

RBS and Lloyds are expected to report second quarter results later this week.

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