HSBC Profits 'Well Ahead' of 2009

British banking giant HSBC Holdings (HBC) said Friday that its pretax profit year-to-date remained "well ahead" of 2009. Its third-quarter pretax profits, the bank said, were also "well ahead" of last year's quarter, although revenue growth was lower than the first half of this year.

The bank's profit were driven by decreased quarterly loan impairment charges, which reached their lowest level since early 2007. Loan impairment charges were down in all regions and customer groups, but most improved in the U.S.

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The bank didn't provide figures in the interim update, but said personal banking exceeded expectations, helped by lower loan impairments. Meanwhile, commercial banking revenue growth was driven by strong levels of economic activity centered on emerging markets.

HSBC added its Asian operations were performing strongly, and improvement continued in Latin America and the Middle East.

Activity in its Global Banking and Markets division eased because of seasonal factors and more subdued market sentiment.