Barclays has announced pre-tax profits of almost £3 billion in its financial results for the first six months of 2009, while HSBC reported half year profits of $5 billion.
In the first six months of 2009, Barclays income increased by 37 per cent, soaring to £16.25 billion.
The performance of its investment banking and investment management arm was a key driver of the bank's performance, with Barclays Capital achieving profits of £1.05 billion, almost double the £524 million that was recorded 12 months previously.
Its retail banking operations in the UK saw profits fall from £690 million to £268 million, a contraction of 61 per cent, while bad debt across its entire international business rose from £2.45 billion to £4.56 billion.
"In challenging market conditions, we have continued to benefit from our diversified business base," said John Varley, chief executive. "The investments we have made, particularly in our international businesses, are driving very strong income performance and allowing us to absorb the consequences of the economic downturn."
HSBC's profits were half those recorded in the same period last year, with the bank also having to write of billions in bad debt, $13.9 billion in total, an almost 40 per cent rise on last year. Both banks saw their share process improve by midday yesterday.
Lloyds Banking Group, Northern Rock and Royal Bank of Scotland will announce their half year figures later this week.
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