HSBC to exit retail banking in Japan

HSBC today said that it will withdraw out of retail banking in Japan and close its remaining services for individual customers, as it tries to control costs and refocus its sprawling business.

The London-based bank will no longer offer its HSBC Premier service for high net worth clients who hold more than 10 million yen ($124,500) in assets or offer new investment products from 8 March.

The bank plans to close six branches as of 31 July, including its Premier branch in Nagoya, in central Japan, on 27 April.
HSBC, Europe's largest lender, said it will gradually phase out services for existing clients in line with its contractual obligations and help them move to other financial institutions.

"Japan is an important market for HSBC...We will invest to build our already successful Global Banking and Markets and Global Asset Management businesses here, helping companies to connect across our network," said Kaber Mclean, HSBC's president and chief executive officer for Japan.

The latest move by the bank comes after it withdrew from Japan's top-tier private banking business by selling the business to Credit Suisse in December 2011 (See: HSBC to sell $2.7-bn Japanese private banking unit to Credit Suisse).
 
The business was worth $2.7 billion as of end-October 2011, which had wealthy individuals as customers holding more than 200 million ($2.6 million) in assets.

Under CEO Stuart Gulliver HSBC is conducting a major revamp of its global operations aimed at cutting costs by $3.5 billion, including steps like withdrawing from retail banking in some countries.