HSBC said it would cut office space nearly in half in response to Covid-19 pandemic | #conferences2021 | #cybersecurity | #conference

London-based HSBC has $3 trillion in assets and mostly conducts business in Asia, but it also is a significant player in New York from its U.S. headquarters building overlooking Bryant Park. The bank has nearly 150 branches—located mainly in and around the city—which it is considering selling. HSBC incurred $280 million in occupancy costs last year for its U.S. branches and offices.

Officials said it would take several years to shrink the bank’s global office footprint.

The move comes as HSBC lowers overhead and restructures business lines. Its performance has trailed JPMorgan and other rivals on the global stage for many years.

“We’re going to stop trying to be everything to everyone.” Chief Executive Noel Quinn said. “Many things are changing with respect to our strategy.”

In this country, he said, the bank will dedicate “the vast majority” of its resources to serving corporate clients and institutional investors. Quinn said HSBC continues to focus on “organic and inorganic options” for its U.S. branches. In corporate lingo, organic growth is achieved without mergers.

HSBC’s U.S. operations swung to a net loss of $940 million last year, from a $113 million profit in 2019, due in part to a large write-down of its retail, private banking and wealth management segments. It closed more than 30% of branches and is looking to sell the rest.

One potential bidder, M&T Bank, is likely out of the running after yesterday agreeing to acquire People’s United Bank for $7.7 billion.

New York Community Bancorp remains a candidate, and analysts say it’s the most logical buyer for the HSBC retail franchise, which is worth an estimated $2 billion. New York Community’s new CEO said last month that he is committed to striking a significant merger.

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