HSBC to build large personal banking business in India – country CEO

MUMBAI, Nov 9 (Reuters) – HSBC (HSBA.L) aims to further expand personal banking in India to serve the country’s fast-growing pool of high-earning professionals after the launch in July of its private bank, its India CEO said on Thursday.

In addition to the wealth management services offered by the new private bank, the business will also provide digital credit cards and personal loans to affluent customers, Hitendra Dave said in an interview with Reuters.

The bank has long had a retail, or personal, banking business in India, but has not focused on building that up, Dave said.

“What has changed in the last three years is that the target market for HSBC in India has exploded,” Dave added.

“We intend to build a very large retail, or what we call a personal, banking business.”

HSBC’s new private banking business in India, part of a wider focus on Asian wealth management, targets ultra-high net worth customers, typically defined as those with a net worth of over $30 million.

Beyond the most affluent, HSBC will also target a growing number of Indian professionals, whose earnings and spending capacity has risen significantly over the last few years, said Dave.

For this segment, HSBC will launch a “digital card issuance program” and a digital loan product “fairly soon”, in addition to its mortgage loans.

The number of high-net-worth individuals – those with an asset value above $1 million – is seen more than doubling from 2022 to 1.65 million by 2027.

The retail banking push will mean more investment in technology and expansion of the bank’s branch network, Dave said. “We intend to build a profitable business,” he said.

HSBC India reported a profit before tax of $766 million in the six months to June 30 this year, up from $645 million in the same period a year ago.

Global banking and markets and commercial banking are the largest contributors to the Indian business.

HSBC India’s wealth and personal banking segment, which includes private banking, mortgages, and asset management, contributed $35 million or 4.6% to its profit before tax in the first six months of 2023.

On the institutional side HSBC will grow investment banking, including through senior hires, Dave said, as it tries to capture a potential increase in cross-border fundraising and merger activity as global interest in the Indian economy rises.

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