HSBC has warned that it could start charging for “basic banking services” in some countries after reporting a 35% drop in quarterly profit.
With its earnings hit by very low interest rates, the bank is weighing up other ways of generating income.
Chief financial officer Ewen Stevenson told Reuters: “We will have to look at charging for basic banking services in some markets, because a large number of our customers in this environment will be losing us money.”
Current accounts are free to UK customers, and a spokesman later told the BBC that the bank was committed to continuing to provide free “basic bank accounts” in the UK.
They added, however: “We always keep under review the pricing for our standard current accounts and associated services.”
HSBC also plans to accelerate its restructuring, which includes job cuts and an overhaul of its US business. It has already cut around 6,000 jobs this year, including contractors, and is expecting a total reduction of 10,000 by the end of the year, Stevenson said.
The bank reported pre-tax profit of $3.1bn (£2.4bn) for the third quarter, down from $4.8bn (£3.7bn) in the same period last year, while revenues declined 11%.