HSBC has confirmed plans to pause its massive job cutting programme, even as it reports a 50% drop in profits due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this year, HSBC said it planned to axe 35,000 jobs over the next three years as part of a major restructuring effort aimed at achieving £3.6 billion in cost cuts.
HSBC chief Noel Quinn confirmed the pause in the transformation programme during a downbeat Q1 results presentation.
"I take the well-being of our people extremely seriously," he says. "We have therefore paused the vast majority of redundancies related to the transformation we announced in February to reduce the uncertainty they are facing at this difficult time."
The bank is putting the profit hit down to the economic impact of the pandemic and the resultant increase in expected credit losses in the first quarter.
As the outlook for world economies continues to worsen, Quinn says the bank is anticipating "materially lower profitability in 2020, relative to 2019".