HSBC unveils cost-saving strategy

HSBC put its US branch network and credit cards business under review today as part of a multi-billion dollar cost cutting plan by new boss Stuart Gulliver.

HSBC put its US branch network and credit cards business under review today as part of a multi-billion dollar cost cutting plan by new boss Stuart Gulliver.

The group also confirmed it will exit Russia and focus on wealth management and retail banking in newer markets such as Mexico, Brazil and Turkey.

In the UK, HSBC said it will evaluate its position once the final decision of the Independent Commission on Banking is published, which could force it to ring fence its retail business.

HSBC has struggled to keep costs under control over the past 18 months and on Monday revealed its key ratio of costs-to-income surged to over 60% in the first three months of 2011.

The plans announced today will save the bank between $2.5bn (€1.7bn) to $3.5bn (€2.4bn) and bring that ratio down to within its target range of 48-52% by 2013, Mr Gulliver said.

The bank currently operates in 87 countries and employs nearly 300,000 people.

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