11/07/2012 10:47 EST | Updated 01/07/2013 05:12 EST

HSBC Bank Canada profit off $20M in Q3; cites pressure on interest rate margins

VANCOUVER - HSBC Bank Canada is citing pressure on interest rate margins in the current low-interest environment as a major factor in an 11 per cent decrease in profits in the third quarter.

The bank, a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings Plc., said net profits attributable to common shareholders were $162 million or 33 cents per basic share in the three months ended Sept. 30. That compared with $182 million or 36 cents in the prior-year period.

Net operating income was $501 million, down from $590 million.

That was partially offset by reduced operating expenses, the bank said Wednesday.

President and CEO Lindsay Gordon, who is stepping down in January, said that despite the decrease in earnings the results "continue to show solid progress."

"We have refocused the bank around our core businesses while improving the efficiency of our operations," he said.

"Our initiatives have created a strong platform to deliver on our strategic objective of being the leading international bank in Canada and to ensure we continue to meet our customers' needs."

HSBC Bank Canada said total assets at Sept. 30 were $84.5 billion, an increase of $4.4 billion from Dec. 31.