Hong Kong is the best place in Asia to do business so the government would have us believe. This may still be true but you have to wonder for how much longer. Businesses need banks, but Hong Kong over the past few years has become one of the hardest places in the world to open a bank account and it’s about to get worse. Continue reading
This story centres on Jim Middleton who is chairman of the NGO, Clear the Air. He has a small business and banks with HSBC. He has had a personal account with the the bank since 1968 and a commercial banking account since 1983, which you would think was ample time for HSBC to get to know its customer. Apparently not. Continue reading
HSBC executives may well be slapping themselves on the back for a job well done following the bank’s recent announcement of a 32 per cent increase in third quarter pre-tax profits to US$6.1 billion. Meanwhile the bank’s long-suffering retail banking customers have less to cheer about. Continue reading
Following this column’s recent “ninety minutes of madness at HSBC” story, the bank has apologised to its customers in Hong Kong.
The ‘madness’ story told of the nightmare experience of a Hong Kong resident with a banking relationship with HSBC who failed in his efforts to open a joint account with his Hong Kong Chinese fiancée who also had an account with the HSBC. The story triggered comments from other unhappy customers who contacted this column with their tales of woe. After discussing these complaints with HSBC a spokesman said the bank was sorry customers were unhappy with the bank’s level of service. Continue reading
You have to wonder what is happening at HSBC these days. It appears to have swung from one extreme of absurdity to another. It used to be the bank of choice for Mexican drug cartels to launder their money. Now Hong Kong couples looking to set up a joint account in Hong Kong are being given the hard word and are being asked to explain the source of their funds. You would have thought HSBC had had plenty of time to sort the bank out, but apparently not. An acquaintance recently left the HSBC branch at Pacific Place feeling he’d been through a Kafkaesque experience tinged with Monty Python characteristics. Continue reading