HSBC to close retail banking business in Russia

Tuesday, 26 April 2011 00:46 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

MOSCOW (Reuters) - HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, is to close its retail banking operation in Russia after just two years, following in the footsteps of British peer Barclays.

“Following a strategic review it is clear that the strongest opportunity for HSBC in Russia lies in servicing corporate and institutional clients,” Huseyin Ozkaya, chief executive at HSBC Russia, said on Monday. “That is why we have taken the decision to exit from our retail business and reduce our Private Banking presence to a representative office.”

HSBC, whose Russian unit is among the country’s top-100 lenders by assets, urged customers to close their accounts by 30 June.

The move by HSBC, which started retail operations in Russia in mid-2009, followed an announcement by Barclays in February it was to sell its Russian retail unit as it was unable to compete and would focus on investment banking.

Russia’s banking sector is dominated by state-owned banks, which control around 60 percent of the system’s overall assets.