HSBC to quit retail banking in Russia

April 26, 2011 at 1:22 PM
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MOSCOW, April 26 (UPI) -- HSBC said Tuesday it would pull its retail banking business out of Russia, where it only arrived two years ago.

The bank attempted to make a beachhead in a difficult business environment without a strategy of finding a niche in the market through acquisitions, The Moscow Times reported.

HSBC, which calls itself "the world's local bank," had only five branch offices in the country, four in Moscow and one in St. Petersburg, the newspaper said.

With deposits of $230 million, it is currently the 127th largest bank in the country.

Financial analyst Svetlana Kovalskaya at Renaissance Capital said HSBC was set back by the sluggish growth of the industry in Russia. "When the tempo of growth is not fast, it's much more complicated for new players to find themselves a niche," she said.

Huseyin Ozkaya, chief executive officer for HSBC in Russia, said, "It's clear that the strongest opportunity for HSBC in Russia lies in servicing corporate and institutional clients," as opposed to banking on the consumer level.

"That's why we've made the decision to exit our retail business and reduce our private banking presence to a representative office," he said.

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