HSBC to accelerate US loans sale for early reshaping

HSBC is now close to the point of sale of over $6 billion of US mortgages and other personal lending as part of its accelerated run-down of its troubled US loan book.

The lender this week said in its quarterly results it had moved $3.7 billion of unsecured personal loans in the US to its "assets held for sale".

Additionally, the bank's North American results showed it had a $3.2 billion portfolio of real estate loans as "held for sale" to a "third party investor".

HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, is burdened by the disastrous legacy of its 2003 US foray when it took over Household International for $15 billion.

After years of aggressive lending following the deal, HSBC was left with losses of tens of billions of dollars as one of the biggest sub-prime lenders when the US housing market went under.

With the scale of the crisis becoming clear, the lender shut its US consumer loans business and had been selling off assets on the book.

The portfolio, mostly real estate, was valued at $44.2 billion at the end of September. It fell $7 billion in the last year and now stands at less than half of its $101 billion total in 2008. It is, however, big enough to take a decade to run off.