Business, Economics and Jobs

British banking giant HSBC slashes 30,000 jobs in cost-cutting drive


A shot of an HSBC building.


Laurent Fievet

Global banking heavyweight HSBC said Monday it will slash about 30,000 jobs worldwide under a plan to reduce costs and concentrate its energies on high-growth markets such as Asia.

The London-based lender reported a 35-percent increase in first-half net profit to $8.9 billion from $6.6 billion thanks to lower tax charges, on steady revenue of $35.7 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported.

On top of 5,000 jobs already under the ax in the U.S., U.K., France, Latin America and Middle East, around 25,000 further roles will be cut between now and 2013, Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver told reporters. He said the bank is still hiring in some countries, though, and that the net headcount reduction could be much smaller.

The cuts represent about 10 percent of HSBC's current global workforce, according to AFP news agency.

"The net number will be a lot smaller than the 30,000," Gulliver stressed, referring to hiring in certain growth markets over the next two years, particularly Asia.

"We will end up continuing to grow our headcount in emerging markets."

The British group, which emerged from the global financial crisis in a relatively strong position compared to some of its competitors, had previously announced plans to reduce costs by up to $3.5 billion within two years.

It has said it will cease retail banking services in Poland and Russia. On the weekend it announced plans to sell 195 retail-banking branches in upstate New York to First Niagara Financial Group Inc. for $1 billion in cash, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"The company continues to benefit from a global diversification which is not necessarily matched by the other U.K. banks," said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Richard Hunter, AFP reported.

"Cost cutting and prudent growth management through its retail and commercial operations have been contributors to the upward surprise, whilst the bad loan figures have reduced impressively."