HSBC hopes interim results will give respite from Muslim accounts furore

 

associate business editor

HSBC’s executives will seek respite from the mounting controversy over their closure of Muslim accounts when they present their 2014 first-half profits in Hong Kong.

The closure of a number of accounts accompanied by letters telling holders the move was down to them “falling outside of our risk appetite” sparked outrage last week, leading to threats of a boycott.

The bank’s bosses will outline an expected $1.5bn fall in profits to $12.5bn (£7.4bn) from its Hong Kong base, giving them some distance from the affair from which the reverberations continue.

Accounts to be shut include those of the Finsbury Park Mosque, the Ummah Welfare Trust and the Cordoba Foundation think tank. The parties involved have called for “answers” from the bank, which has sizeable operations in a number of majority Muslim nations.

On the day the news first emerged, the banking giant responded by saying it could not comment on individual accounts but said that such decisions were “absolutely not based on the race or religion of a customer”.

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