HSBC Holdings PLC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organizations. Its network spans more than 83 countries and territories with headquarters in London's new business center, Canary Wharf. Its name is an acronym -- for Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. -- and it has an emphasis in emerging markets, especially in Asia. Its core businesses are personal financial services, private banking, commercial banking, and global banking and markets. According to the rumor mill, HSBC, already among the world's largest companies, was recently linked with several acquisition targets. Historically, the bank has been known for its conservative and risk-averse approach to business, but there has been worry over its exposure to toxic assets, including U.S. subprime mortgages.
The bank is pulling back its U.S. consumer-lending division, HSBC Finance Corp., the former Household International Inc. The bank bought the Illinois subprime lender which was the biggest American finance company, in 2003, in what turned out to be a disastrous move as the mortgage market soured. The bank's plan is to cut 6,100 jobs, run down its mortgage and other loan books and shutter nearly all its remaining 800 HFC Finance and Beneficial brand branches. About 600 had already been closed.
The company's HSBC Bank USA network, which has more than 470 branches in 13 states, will continue to grow. It opened 14 branches in 2008 and has plans for as many in 2009. The company is also keeping its credit-card business. HSBC has more than 25,000 employees in the U.S. There are about 3,000 employed at its North American headquarters in Mettawa, Ill., and more than 2,000 in nearby suburbs.
Its online recruiting pages emphasize its focus on sustainability, including its becoming the world's first carbon-neutral bank in 2005.
Reform might be coming to the bank when it comes to bonuses. Chairman Stephen Green has spoken out in favor of reining in the City's excessive bonus culture.
Want to see the world? HSBC has internships and programs across the globe.