HSBC Malta announced that it registered a 23% decrease in pre-tax profit during 2018 when compared to 2017. HSBC CEO Andrew Beane spoke of ‘reputational damage’ the country has suffered during 2018, describing the year as a difficult one for the Maltese financial services sector.
The Bank’s chairperson Sonny Portelli, CEO Beane and Financial Executive Emma Nuttall addressed a press conference on the matter on Tuesday.
During the press conference the Bank also announced that the customers deposits increased by 3% to €4,887m until the end of 2018.
HSBC CEO described 2018 as a difficult year for the local financial services sector, saying that it suffered further reputational damage. He emphasized on the need to ensure that all measures against money laundering were upheld and transposed without any further delay.
Beane also spoke of the need to implement the recommendations that will be proposed in the upcoming report by Moneyval on the financial sector, scheduled sometime in June or July this year.
The CEO explained that the bank will be focusing on growth, and that more work is planned on the digitalisation of the services offered by the bank.
HSBC Malta said that the adjusted profit before tax was €36.5m, a decrease of €19.1m or 34% compared to 2017. The recommended gross final dividend was of 1.8 cents per share (1.2 cents per share net of tax) which resulted in a full year dividend of 5.8 cents per share (3.8 cents per share net of tax).
The net interest income of HSBC decreased by 10% to €108.6m compared with the prior year.
Beane said that during 2019 the bank would move to a new phase in reply to questions by the media, on where would the growth occur. He also spoke on the need of strengthening cyber security and that the bank will be investing more.
Beane explained that voluntary organisations working in the health sector were exempted from paying, as well as normal bank customers.
The CEO also touched on Brexit, saying that the Maltese branch was taking all the necessary actions to address all the risks associated to Britain leaving the EU and the impact it may have on HSBC Malta.
NGO Commissioner describes account maintenance fees as “disproportionate burden”
The NGO Commissioner Anthony Abela Medici described the monthly account maintenance fees on voluntary organisations by HSBC Malta non-governmental organisations have to shoulder in order to open a bank account with HSBC Malta was disproportionate in his opinion, in a statement on 12 February 2019. Abela Medici said that the Office of the Commissioner registered his objection with the bank and asked it re-consider the monthly fees to no avail.