HSBC Bank Malta plc issued its Interim Directors’ Statement on 16 May. The Directors noted that although the period under review was characterised by a general slowdown in business activity, primarily due to the currency transition to the euro and the general elections, the Group recorded satisfactory progress. Profit before tax was lower than in the comparative period last year. The Directors explained that interest income was below expectations because of tighter margins and heightened competition, while non-interest income was also lower, primarily due to significantly reduced foreign exchange dealing income as a result of Malta’s adoption of the euro on 1 January 2008. Meanwhile, operating expenses have been kept under tight control.
HSBC confirmed that the quality of the overall loan book remains good. The Balance Sheet continued to grow at a steady pace with strong growth in customers’ deposits and a further increase in loans and advances to customers. The Directors stated that there was no deterioration in the quality of credit lending while liquidity and solvency indicators remain sound and above regulatory levels.