The boss of HSBC has said the bank will not “smother” the former UK arm of Silicon Valley Bank or overhaul its operations after it swooped in with a £1 rescue deal last week.
The UK subsidiary of the California-based start-up lender was snapped up by HSBC just before market open on Monday in a much hailed move among Britain’s start-up community.
SVB UK built its reputation as a partner to start-ups and venture capital investors, but questions have been swirling over how ownership by one of Britain’s big lenders will impact its lending to small, often loss-making start-ups.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, HSBC’s chief Noel Quinn looked to soothe concerns and said the bank will be left to operate as a standalone entity.
“What I want to do is let them continue to serve the market. I will make sure we don’t smother SVB UK,” he said,
The new division “won’t just be HSBC department X” but “will be a part of HSBC with an identity [of its own]”, Quin added.
The bank’s 650 staff are also set to be retained along with boss Erin Platts, the Sunday Times reported. Platts drew some criticism in the wake of the SVB UK’s insolvency for reassuring the market of the bank’s financial position and independence from its US parent, hours before it was placed in insolvency proceedings by the Bank of England.
While the rescue effort was roundly welcomed by tech start-ups and government figures, it drew some criticism from rival bidder, Bank of London, for shifting power further into the hands of high-street banks.
“It cannot be right that once again the heritage banks that have provided a poor service to UK entrepreneurs over many years benefit from their already dominant position. Britain needs better,” the Bank of London said in statement last week.