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HSBC Holdings plc
HSBC Holdings PLClogo
Type Public
Founded 1865
Location London, UK
Key people Sir John Bond, Chairman
Stephen Green, CEO
Industry Finance and Insurance
Products Financial Services
Revenue $66.7 billion USD (2004) [1]
Employees 253,000

HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE: HBC, LSE: HSBA, HKSE: 005, Euronext: HSBC), is one of the largest banking groups in the world. It is headquartered in London, with its head office based in the HSBC Tower, London, a part of the Canary Wharf development in the London Docklands. Its founding member is Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, a bank established by the Scot Thomas Sutherland to finance British trade in the Far East in 1865.

The bank is the third largest corporation in terms of assets ([2]). It reports its results in US dollars as 70% of its earnings come from outside the UK. Nearly 40% of its earnings is from operations in Hong Kong. Before moving the headquarters to London in 1991, it was headquartered in Hong Kong. It is the largest bank in Hong Kong, and at the end of 2004 it was the third largest banking group in the world by Tier 1 capital [3].

HSBC logo
HSBC logo

The HSBC logo is derived from the Scottish flag which is the angular cross St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, was crucified upon.


Activities in the Americas


Main article: HSBC Bank Argentina SA

Midland Bank purchased a stake in Banco Roberts SA in 1987, in 1997 HSBC took full control of the bank and rebranded it HSBC.


Main article: HSBC Bank Brasil S.A.- Banco Multiplo

HSBC’s largest presence in Brazil and in South America was established in March 1997, when Banco HSBC Bamerindus S.A. was set up to take over the assets, liabilities and subsidiaries of Banco Bamerindus do Brasil S.A., which had been established in 1952. By the time of its acquisition, the bank had almost 1,300 branches, plus insurance, leasing and securities businesses, among others. The bank’s name was changed to HSBC Bank Brasil S.A. - Banco Múltiplo in 1999. The headquarters are located in Curitiba. HSBC in now among the ten largest banks in Brazil, with more than 1,700 branches and sub-branches in 550 Brazilian cities.


Main article: HSBC Bank Canada

HSBC has a strong presence in overseas Chinese communities especially in Vancouver and Toronto in Canada. HSBC Canada is the only Canadian bank with headquarters in British Columbia.


Main article: HSBC Mexico, SA

Banco Internacional, S.A. (BITAL), Mexico's fifth largest bank was acquired by HSBC by 2003, changing the company's name to HSBC México, S.A., with presence nationwide. Though the purchase was legal, Banco Internacional, S.A. was known to be involved in money laundring operations, and participated in the infamous FOBAPROA, which rescued the banks in the 1994 crisis, at the cost of the Mexican's taxes.

United States

Main article: HSBC Bank USA N.A. and HSBC Finance Corporation

HSBC acquired a 51% shareholding in Marine Midland banks of New York State, headquartered in Buffalo, New York, in 1980 and extended to full ownership in 1987. The banks continued to operate under the Marine Midland name until 1998, when the branch offices were rebranded as HSBC Bank USA. After the acquisition of Republic National Bank in 1999, the head office of HSBC Bank USA moved from the HSBC Center in Buffalo to 452 Fifth Avenue, New York City — although the official headquarters are in Wilmington, Delaware.

There are some 400 HSBC branches throughout New York State in addition to some 20 to 25 branches in other states, including Florida and California. There was a branch office on the ground floor of the World Trade Center in New York City.

Marine Midland owned several prominent properties, including the Marine Midland Building at 140 Broadway in Manhattan, near the World Trade Center. Completed in 1967, this 52-story, 688 ft (209.7 m) highrise provides 1.2 million square feet (110,000 m²) of office space in lower Manhattan and is noted for the distinctive "Noguchi's Cube" sculpture at its entrance. The tallest building in Buffalo also carries the HSBC name, and is noted for its open entry level, under which the Buffalo Metro Rail passes.

Also of note, Marine Midland had purchased naming rights to the Buffalo sports and entertainment venue constructed in 1996, the Marine Midland Arena, home of the Buffalo Sabres. Today, the venue is known as the HSBC Arena.

On March 28, 2003, Household International was acquired by HSBC. The acquisition was controversial: Household International had, in October 2002, settled for $486 million charges of predatory lending by attorneys general in 46 U.S. states. Household International's CEO William Aldinger became the highest-paid director in the United Kingdom, before announcing his departure in February 2005. HSBC is expanding the Household International consumer financial model to Brazil, India and elsewhere.

In August 2005, HSBC-N.A. announced plans to acquire Metris Companies, Inc. Metris is a credit card issuer to the U.S. middle market segment. The deal is to close in early December 2005 and is an all-cash transaction worth close to US$2 billion. HSBC claims the Metris product line (under the Direct Merchants Bank brand) will be inserted into the HSBC-NA credit card family of products. Currently, HSBC has a “prime” offering through their “HSBC”, “Union Plus” and GM Card products. They have a sub-prime offer through their “Orchard Bank” and “Household” cards. The Metris offerings will serve as HSBC's middle-market product suite.

Activities in Asia Pacific


Main article: HSBC Bank Australia Limited

Established in 1986


The Mercantile Bank of India, London and China was established in October 1853 in Bombay (now Mumbai). The Mercantile Bank was acquired in 1959 by HSBC.

HSBC is now one of the fastest growing foreign banks in India.

Hong Kong

Main article: Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and Hang Seng Bank
The headquarters of HSBC in Hong Kong
The headquarters of HSBC in Hong Kong

HSBC was first established in Hong Kong in March 1865. By the 1880s, the bank was acting as banker to the Hong Kong government under British rule. Prior to diversifying its business into a worldwide financial institution as it is known today through a series of alliances and acquisitions, the business of the Bank was concentrated in the Asian region, particularly in Hong Kong. It once adopted a shorthand of "HongkongBank", which is still a widely used jargon in Hong Kong today.

The Hong Kong headquarters of the HSBC are in Central, Hong Kong, in the HSBC Hong Kong headquarters building. It was designed by British architect Norman Foster, and was the most expensive building in the world for the usable floor area when it was built.

HSBC is one of the three banks which issues banknotes for Hong Kong (the other two being the Bank of China (Hong Kong) and Standard Chartered Bank).

HSBC acquired a controlling interest in the local Hang Seng Bank in 1965 during a crisis of the latter. The Hang Seng Index for stock prices in Hong Kong is named after the Hang Seng Bank.

Mainland China

Main article: Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited building on The Bund (with the round dome, currently houses the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank)
The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited building on The Bund (with the round dome, currently houses the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank)

HSBC established its Shanghai branch office on 3 April 1865. Aside from the period 1941-1945, in which Japan forced HSBC and other foreign-invested banks to leave the local market, it has had a continuous presence in the city. HSBC was historically housed in one of the largest and most impressive buildings on The Bund, Shanghai's boulevard formerly known as the Wall Street of the Orient. In April 1955, HSBC handed over this office to the Communist government, and its activities were continued in rented premises. Its activities were mainly in inward remittances and export bills until the economic reforms of the late 1970s. Chinese authorities had offered to lease HSBC its old headquarters on The Bund in 1995 but the offer was turned down. Currently HSBC is located in its own HSBC Tower across the river in the Pudong area of Shanghai.

On 6 August 2004, HSBC announced to pay USD 1.75 billion for a 19.9% stake in Shanghai-based Bank of Communications. At the time of the announcement, Bank of Communications was China's fifth-largest bank and the investment by HSBC was eight times bigger than any previous foreign investment in a Chinese bank. Industry considered this move giving HSBC a lead in the race to grab pieces of mainland China's banking market. A year earlier, HSBC had joined with Hong Kong's Shanghai Commercial Bank, Ltd. to purchase an 11% stake in Bank of Shanghai (HSBC paid USD 62.6 million for an 8% stake) and USD 733 million for a 10% stake in Ping An Insurance.


Main article: HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad

First foreign bank to encorporate locally in Malaysia (1994)

Activities in Europe


Main article: HSBC SA

Crédit Commercial de France became a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC in July 2000, it operates around 800 branches in France, under a number of brands. On the 1st November 2005 the network's branches in the Paris region were rebranded as HSBC.


Main article: HSBC Bank Malta plc

HSBC Bank Malta plc is one of the largest banks in Malta and is a subsidiary of HSBC. It is the former Mid-Med Bank and the second-oldest bank in Malta


Main article: HSBC Bank AS

The HSBC Group opened its first office in Turkey in 1990. In October 2001, HSBC acquired Demirbank TAS, the fifth largest private bank in Turkey from the Turkish financial regulator after it was rescued during the financial crisis, and its wholly-owned stockbroking and fund management subsidiary, Demir Yatirim.

The merger of HSBC Bank A.S and Demirbank was successfully completed in December 2001. The combined bank, HSBC Bank AS, has a network of 157 branches and offers a comprehensive range of products and services to corporate, commercial and personal customers.

On 8 August 2002, HSBC Bank AS had signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement for the acquisition of Benkar Tuketici Finansmani ve Kart Hizmetleri A.S. (Consumer finance and card services) and the Advantage brand from Boyner Holding A.S. The purchase of Benkar was completed on 19 September 2002.

United Kingdom

Main article: HSBC Bank plc

In the United Kingdom, HSBC is one of the "Big 4" high street banks after the purchase of the Midland Bank in 1992. The Midland Bank was later rebranded HSBC. Its UK operations maintain a large network of branches throughout England and Wales, with a much smaller presence in Scotland and Northern Ireland where local banks tend to dominate. It also owns First Direct, a telephone and internet bank. Via its acquisition of HFC Bank it operates credit cards under the Marbles brand, as well as branches under the "Household Bank" and "Beneficial Finance" brands. HFC Bank provides retail credit to many leading national retailers and is the largest point of sale loan provider in the UK. Examples include the "GM Card" and John Lewis Partnership financial services. In 2004, HSBC acquired the financial services division of Marks and Spencers and offers credit card, insurance and savings products branded under Marks and Spencer Money.

Activities in Middle East and Africa

Main article: HSBC Bank Middle East Limited


Main article: HSBC Bank Egypt SAE

Founded in 1982, rebranded as HSBC in April 2001 after HSBC lifted its ownership stake from 40% to 90%.


Main article: Dar Es Salaam Investment Bank

During October 2005 HSBC completed the acquisition of 70.1% of this bank, having begun negotiations earlier in the year. The Coalition Provisional Authority originally granted HSBC along with Standard Chartered and National Bank of Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia

Main article: The Saudi British Bank

Formerly the British Bank of the Middle East.

History of HSBC Holdings plc

See also

External links


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