Most large banks are competing to build bigger and better branches, but HSBC (HBC) is betting that smaller is smarter.

The British bank spent the past two years shedding real estate in the wealthy New York region, selling off its branches in the suburbs and farther upstate. In the city, big competitors like JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (NYSE: C) and Bank of America (BAC) are unveiling shiny glass boxes on high-traffic corners, but HSBC is sticking with its staid, conservative storefronts. It is building branches in other U.S. markets, particularly on the West Coast, but they will be much smaller — 2,500 to 3,500 square feet, compared to its 8,000 to 15,000 square-foot floor plans of yore.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.