HSBC cutting ties with small Turkish businesses to focus on bigger players

HSBC cutting ties with small Turkish businesses to focus on bigger players

Jale Özgentürk ISTANBUL / Hürriyet
HSBC cutting ties with small Turkish businesses to focus on bigger players British lender HSBC has begun to close the accounts of small local businesses in Turkey with the aim of focusing on customers with overseas interests.

The bank has started to call small companies to tell them the bank has decided to close the accounts of customers to whom it believes it cannot provide enough service.

“Please switch your automatic payment orders to another bank. Inform your customers and institutions that you have commercial relations with,” a voice tells company representatives on the phone.

The number of companies that have been approached or will be approached by HSBC is not yet known, but the lender is bidding farewell to customers that are believed to not be creating sufficient value.

HSBC authorities reached by daily Hürriyet said the bank had decided to reduce the number of customers to give better service.

“We reviewed our commercial banking portfolio. As a result of this evaluation, we aimed to focus on our customers that we think we can provide the best service to and provide our resources most efficiently,” a representative said.

“Most of these customers are companies that actively carry our business in international markets or that aim to open up overseas in the near future and benefit from the services that we provide pre-eminently,” they added.

HSBC authorities also claimed the policy change would allow the bank to allocate more time and resources to each customer.

The bank entered the Turkish market in 1990 under the name of Midland Bank and changed its name to HSBC in 1999. The lender’s commercial presence in the country was strengthened with acquisition of Turkish bank Demirbank in 2001. In 2002, HSBC acquired Boyner Group’s credit card company Benkar to become one of the biggest players in the credit card market with its “Advantage card” brand.

The company, which has around 3 million customers in Turkey, has been cautious about growing in Turkish market since 2010.

The lender was employing 5,967 workers as of March 2014, down from 6,631 in 2010. HSBC also operates 312 branches around the country.