Standard Chartered said its private banking profits slid 44% in the first half of 2020, from a year earlier.
The private bank had $56m in underlying profit before tax, with $37m being generated in the first quarter and $19m in the second.
This was down from the $100m it reported for 2019’s first half, the British lender said Thursday.
Private banking income eased 2% to $300m, while expenses fell 6% to $200m over the same period.
Meanwhile, wealth management income held steady at $964m, with $434m being attributed to 2020’s second quarter.
During Covid-19 the bank had less bancassurance sales because of fewer branch walk-ins. But clients increasingly used digital channels and there was a particularly strong sales performance in FX, fixed income and equities.
StanChart’s retail and commercial banking units took similar hits to their profits, that were down 48% to $326m and 46% to $182m respectively.
Corporate and institutional banking was a standout, with growth in most products and good cost control, the bank said.
The business had $1.132bn in underlying profit before tax, that was 13% lower than the previously reported $1.297bn.
On a group level, StanChart had $1.955bn in underlying profit before tax, down 25% from 2019’s first half.
This was due to increasing credit impairments, that increased by $1.3bn to $1.6bn over the same period.
Group CEO Bill Winters said the bank emerged from an ‘extremely challenging early stage of the Covid-19 crisis with a clean bill of operational health, higher income and lower costs.
‘Low interest rates and depressed oil prices continue to be headwinds and we expect new waves of Covid-19 related challenge in the coming quarters. But I am confident that our resilience and client franchise will see us through,’ Winters said.
The Africa and the Middle East region saw the steepest drop in profits in the first half, with underlying profit before tax plummeting 80% to $90m.
This was followed by Asean and South Asia, where profits fell 40% to $456m and Greater China and North Asia, where profits fell 15% to $1.134bn.