Marine Midland back in profit

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The Independent Online
MARINE Midland, the troubled US subsidiary of HSBC Holdings, returned to a significant profit in the second quarter after breaking even in the first three months and losing heavily last year.

Marine Midland has no direct connection with Midland Bank. But they share the same parent company following the takeover of Midland this month by HSBC.

Marine Midland, which has been badly hit by the property crisis in the US, reported a net profit of dollars 43.6m ( pounds 22.8m) for the first half of the year, all but dollars 2.6m of it in the second quarter.

This compared with a loss of dollars 109.3m in the first half last year, of which dollars 37m was in the second quarter.

The poor performance of HSBC's US subsidiary since it was acquired over a decade ago was used as ammunition by Lloyds Bank when it was trying to persuade shareholders to reject HSBC's offer for Midland Bank.

HSBC's results suggest it is emerging from its US problems almost as fast as NatWest Bancorp, another subsidiary of a British bank that was similarly devastated by the property crisis on the US East Coast.

Marine Midland is a New York state regional bank with assets of dollars 16.5bn and strong capital, despite its heavy recent losses.

Its risk-weighted capital ratio at the end of June was 16.21 per cent, twice the internationally agreed minimum.

The bank said the main contributing factors to the improved performance were favourable interest rate margins, profits on securities, the sale of loans and a significant reduction in the number of loans that failed to pay interest.

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