RETAIL BANKING | Jason Oliver, Hong Kong

HSBC: We have passed the worst

HSBC Chairman Stephen Green says the bank has passed the bottom in the cycle in financial markets as the bank saw net income fall over 50 percent to $3.35 billion.Even with Asia contributing more than half to the bank's earnings, the net income of HSBC dropped from $7.72 billion. What rose was the pretax profit at HSBC's securities unit. Under the leadership of Stuart Gulliver, the said profit more than doubled to $6.3 billion coinciding with the increase in revenue from foreign exchange trading and underwriting bond sales.According to a Bloomberg report, HSBC had been expected to report a $600 million loss but was successful in beating analyst estimates.Green said, "Operating conditions in the financial sector have continued to improve as the effects of government and central bank policies work through the system."In Asia HSBC added more than $17 billion of customer accounts and plans to have 100 outlets in China by the end of 2009.

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