HSBC has moved onto the second stage of its IT and process standardisation programme, One HSBC.
HSBC noted the progress of the One HSBC programme as part of its 2009 results announcement today, when the bank reported a fall in profit before tax of $2,228 million (£1,495 million or 23.9 percent) to US$7,079 million (£4,747 million), compared with 2008.
In HSBC’s 2009 results statement, Michael Geoghegan, HSBC group chief executive, said: "In 2009, as we moved to the next phase of the programme, we established regional centres of excellence which will allow us to transform and standardise our business models."
In its annual report, the bank added that general and administrative expenses had fallen last year, compared with 2008: "Better use of direct channels, increased automation of manual processes, enhanced utilisation of global service centres and elimination of redundant systems continued to be driven through the One HSBC programme."
The programme, which aims to cut costs and improve the bank’s efficiency, was established in 2007.
In addition, the global bank said that particularly in the UK and the rest of Asia-Pacific, investment in technology and extensions and improvements to branch and ATM networks had driven higher premises and equipment costs. This investment also led to higher repairs and maintenance costs.
Despite this investment, HSBC reported a fall in total operating expenses, excluding goodwill impairment. There was a 10.7 percent fall, compared with 2008, to $34,395 million (£23,064 million).
One of the key measures of IT performance used by the bank is the number of transactions it processes. HSBC recorded a fall in total volumes, but said that the transition of customer transactions from branches or call centres to automated channels, such as internet, self-service and other e-channels, "continued" in 2009.
In 2008, HSBC processed 2.5 billion cash machine transactions, which fell slightly last year, and nearly 500 million internet transactions, which suffered a steeper drop, to around 300 million.
In Europe, the bank said nearly 99 percent of its IT services hit performance targets, representing a steady annual improvement. These targets include factors such as systems running 99.9 percent of the time and credit card authorisations being processed within two seconds.
In January, HSBC cash machines stopped functioning for nearly four hours after one of the bank’s mainframes crashed.
Meanwhile at the end of last year, the bank cancelled plans to construct a £300 million datacentre in York, which would have been HSBC’s largest datacentre.