Record profits anticipated for UK banks

British banks are this week expected to announce record annual profits of almost $76 billion dollars, according to financial analysts.

The results come at a time when banks face large debts from unpaid unsecured loans, and last month's announcement from HSBC that $1.7 billion is to be reserved to cover similarly incurred debts in the US market.

HSBC heads up the impressive figures with anticipated profits of $20.9 billion, with Barclays just behind them at $14 billion. Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and Halifax Bank of Scotland are meanwhile expected to post profits of about $18 billion, $7.2 billion, and $11 billion respectively.

According to analysts the record profits are in part due to a raft of worldwide takeovers, an increase in personal client banking from wealthy clients and Barclays' decision to tighten lending conditions to offset the $4 billion debts from personal loans they reported last year.

Commenting on the figures in a BBC interview, Richard Hunter, head of UK equities at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "On the whole, banks are in rude health. Stringent cost control measures over the past few years have meant that, as for so much of UK plc, strong corporate earnings are being enjoyed."

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