HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's largest bank, plans to more than double the number of its U.S. premier banking customers to 1 million by 2013, said Andy Ireland, head of the American wealth unit.

HSBC classifies premier customers as those with deposits and investment balances of at least $100,000, said Ireland, who runs premier banking and wealth management nationwide. HSBC currently has 450,000 premier U.S. clients, he said.

"It's a core focus for the bank globally," Ireland said in an interview at HSBC's New York office Thursday. The United Kingdom has the most premier customers, followed by Hong Kong and then the United States, he said.

In the States, the bank is aiming its services at "internationally minded" clients, such as those who travel overseas for work or have children studying abroad.

The London bank estimates there are 25 million potential customers.

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