HSBC is set to sell off its Greek retail bank as it doubles down on its Asia operations – the lenders largest market.
The deal with local lender Pacreta Bank forms part of a wider five-year restructuring plan at HSBC, which included cutting its loss-making US retail bank last year.
The figure of the deal has not yet been disclosed, however, it remains subject to regulatory and union approval.
All 320 employees from across HSBC’s five branches will be transferred to Pacreta, avoiding any job losses as a result.
HSBC announced its $6bn (£4.5bn) plan to grow its top business segments in Asia in February last year, as it chases profits from the west to the east.
However, S&P Global Market Intelligence analysts anticipated the move to attract rivals who are also eyeing the continent’s potential profits.
More than half of the budget for the Asian expansion over the next five years is earmarked for its wealth management business, with sights locked on rising incomes in Greater China, Southeast Asia and India.
“The move puts HSBC up against non-Asian competitors such as Credit Suisse Group AG and UBS Group AG, which have also been beefing up their wealth management businesses in Asia-Pacific in recent years, as well as established regional players such as Nomura Holdings Inc. and DBS Group Holdings Ltd,” wrote S&P Global Analysts.
“The bank’s pivot strategy may help mitigate the drag on its revenue from lower interest rates and build upon it strengths in Asia. But it still has to grapple with its organizational complexity, a bloated workforce and higher competition.”