Belfast Telegraph

Bank to create 50 jobs with branch network expansion

By Amanda Poole

Banking and financial services organisation HSBC has announced welcome investment plans for Northern Ireland which will create up to 50 new jobs here.

Hong Kong based HSBC group chief executive Michael Geoghegan CBE was in Belfast to host a Benefiting Belfast Through Investment Q&A session for 400 guests at Belfast City Hall and to lend support to a Barnardos NI Children in Grief project, before announcing the bank is to continue expansion in Northern Ireland.

The bank currently has six branches here, but its presence will nearly double over the next two to three years with the creation of five new branches.

HSBC Northern Ireland regional director Cecil Russell said: "We are continuing with our plans to extend our presence within Northern Ireland, which will substantially increase our market share here."

HSBC reported more than doubling its first half profits to £7.2bn. The bank approved nearly 70% of all its UK business applications, the same rate as over the past three years.

New mortgage lending was £7bn in the first half of the year, which reflected willingness to lend as market share is now 8%, against its traditional 3% share.

Mr Geoghegan said: "Despite increasing economic uncertainty towards the end of the period, we saw appetite for credit grow steadily, especially among our business customers. This is now feeding through to our lending growth, a trend we expect to continue."

Earlier in the year Mr Geoghegan said he would be donating his £4m bonus to children's charities. Barnardos NI project Children in Grief aims to raise £750,000 to help bereaved children through counselling.