HSBC PH to close thrift bank unit

Published December 6, 2022, 4:31 PM

by Lee C. Chipongian

British bank HSBC Philippines will no longer operate a thrift banking business in the country but will keep its universal and commercial banking license as its main banking presence here.

HSBC on Tuesday, Dec. 5, said it has received regulatory approval to “allow (them) to simplify” their banking operations in the country. It did not say when it will close its savings bank but has already informed all its clients of the transfer or migration of their deposit accounts in the first quarter of 2023.

The foreign bank, which has been in the Philippines for 147 years, has yet to surrender its thrift banking license to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). It will do so once the transition to the main bank is completed. As a big bank, HSBC offers the same services as a savings bank, but given better access to investment options.

HSBC noted in its statement that it will “combine the retail bank operations of HSBC Savings Bank and HSBC Philippines” to be able to centralize investment and insurance offerings through its new wealth management business, HSBC Wealth.

Peter Faulhaber, HSBC Philippines Head of Wealth and Personal Banking, said the move will improve its retail banking business in the Philippines. HSBC Wealth, an expanded insurance brokerage unit of the bank, offers unit investment trust funds.

The transition process will be seamless, and the bank said there will be no service disruption. “Our savings bank customers will be kept informed of the migration process through various channels such as electronic direct mails, SMS and letters. They may also get in touch with us through our branch network, our contact centre or through their assigned Relationship Managers,” said Faulhaber.

HSBC, with six branches, is the 14th biggest bank in the country out of 45 as of end-June, with P208.35 billion in assets. Based on BSP data, in terms of deposits, it ranked 15th with P151.24 billion.