Marine Midland back in black

MARINE MIDLAND, the HSBC Holdings subsidiary in New York State, returned to the black last year for the first time in three years with a net profit of dollars 109.2m ( pounds 73.8m), writes Peter Rodgers.

This compares with a loss of dollars 189.9m in 1991 when the bank suffered property problems.

HSBC is the London holding company of Midland Bank - which has no direct connection with Marine Midland - and Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation.

The poor performance by Marine Midland over the past few years was one of the arguments used by opponents of HSBC's bid for Midland Bank last year, who cited the US performance as evidence of HSBC's record.

But the return to profit follows a move to direct management control of Marine Midland by HSBC, which previously had an arm's- length relationship with the bank because of US banking rules.

James Cleave, president of Marine Midland, said 1992 was a benchmark year: 'We are now positioned to take advantage of additional opportunities and accelerate Marine's transformation to a pre-eminent regional bank.'

In the fourth quarter, Marine Midland made dollars 35.7m net profit compared with a loss of dollars 23.8m a year earlier.