Though it is shuttering its remaining 800 subprime consumer-finance branches in North America, HSBC Holdings PLC emphasized that it will continue expanding its U.S. banking operations.
On a conference call with reporters Monday, Paul Lawrence, the president and chief executive of HSBC Bank USA, said his unit of the London company opened 14 branches last year and plans to open "easily as many" this year. The $181 billion-asset depository is based in McLean, Va.
Brendan McDonagh, the chief executive of HSBC's North American operations, added that it could open as many as 30 to 40 bank branches in this country. It is looking at coastal cities where both commercial and personal banking customers have international ties, he said, and Washington, San Diego, Seattle, and Los Angeles are among the cities that fit that description.
HSBC said Monday that its worldwide profits dropped 70% last year, to $5.7 billion. The results included a writedown of the $10.6 billion of goodwill associated with the North American consumer finance arm, HSBC Finance Corp.
Shuttering that Mettawa, Ill., unit's nationwide branch network will cost 6,100 jobs, HSBC said. It has whittled the network down from about 1,400 branches two years ago. HSBC bought the subprime lender, then called Household International Inc., in 2003. The unit is to stop writing loans under its brand names and focus on winding down its $62 billion loan portfolio. However, HSBC is keeping its U.S. credit cards business.