HSBC does not seem happy in the United States nor in the United Kingdom. Financial markets and customer debt are under pressure, while repossessions and foreclosures are at an all-time high. HSBC once bragged of making profits in emerging markets. Perhaps that will change as well. ‘Amid signs of trouble in emerging economies like Argentina and South Korea, there is growing concern that HSBC will take a hit,’ said Patrick Shum, strategist with Karl Thomson Securities in Hong Kong.
Is HSBC treading water as the financial crisis builds? There is little news from HSBC if you filter out reports of how great they are or which green initiative they support this week. “We question how long HSBC shares can continue to tread water in the face of falling earnings and increased pressure on capital,” Morgan Stanley analysts led by Anil Agarwal wrote in a report today. Here at the advocacy center we wonder about it too. HSBC Finance, HSBC Consumer Credit, or whatever HSBC calls the division these days, is under pressure.
It’s Friday, October 24th and news in the U.S. this morning is interesting. HSBC Holdings Plc declined the most since Sept. 11, 2001, after Morgan Stanley cut its share price estimate for the company by 25 percent. The FTSE 100 Index lost 291.61, or 7.1 percent, to a five- year low of 3,796.22 at 12:28 p.m. in London, headed for a 6.6 percent decline this week. Elsewhere we see that credit card companies and auto finance may have hard times ahead. HSBC is involved with both, although word has it that HSBC is exiting the auto finance business.
HSBC finances Polaris products. Polaris has relationships with HSBC Bank (“HSBC”) and GE Money Bank (“GE”) to provide retail revolving and installment financing credit, respectively, to United States consumers to purchase Polaris products. According to a recent Polaris press release, availability of retail credit to Polaris consumers remains at acceptable levels as measured by approval and penetration rates. During the third quarter 2008, over 50 percent of consumer retail credit loan applications from Polaris customers were approved by either HSBC or GE, and 41 percent of Polaris retail customers in the United States financed their Polaris product purchases through HSBC or GE. Both the approval rate and penetration rate increased during the 2008 third quarter compared to the 2007 third quarter despite turbulent credit markets.
HSBC Finance recently cut 214 jobs in Franklin Park and Elmhurst as its consumer lending unit moved its records administration duties from Illinois to Buffalo. About a third of the affected workers have been placed in alternative positions within HSBC, a spokeswoman said. As for HSBC’s credit card business, according to CBS News, HSBC (HBC) sent out 54% less direct mail advertisements. Judging by our complaints blog, that might be a good thing for unsuspecting consumers.