HSBC profit drops 29% as bad debt charges soar

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- HSBC Holdings on Monday reported a 29% drop in first-half net profit as bad debt charges surged to over $10 billion, though the bank still lifted its interim dividend payment.

Net profit for the period fell to $7.72 billion from $10.9 billion a year earlier and was broadly in line with market expectations. Loan impairment charges and other provisions jumped 58% to $10 billion.

HSBC said it remained profitable in all regions with the exception of North America, where its personal financial services business lost $2.2 billion due to the higher bad debt charges.

Chairman Stephen Green said financial markets "will not and should not," return to the situation they were in before the credit crisis.

"Ultimately, the real economy will recover from this crisis, although it may get worse before it gets better," he said.