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HSBC to close retail business in Russia.

MOSCOW: HSBC, Europe's largest bank, is to close its retail banking operation in Russia after just two years, following in the footsteps of British peer Barclays.

"Following a strategic review it is clear that the strongest opportunity for HSBC in Russia lies in servicing corporate and institutional clients," Huseyin Ozkaya, chief executive at HSBC Russia, said yesterday.

"That is why we have taken the decision to exit from our retail business and reduce our Private Banking presence to a representative office."

HSBC, whose Russian unit is among the country's top-100 lenders by assets, urged customers to close their accounts by June 30.

The move by HSBC, which started retail operations in Russia in mid-2009, followed an announcement by Barclays in February it was to sell its Russian retail unit as it was unable to compete and would focus on investment banking.

Russia's banking sector is dominated by state-owned banks, which control around 60 per cent of the system's overall assets. Top lenders Sberkbank and VTB have also been expanding in investment banking, meaning competition for business being generated by a $33 billion state privatisation drive will be tough.

Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2011

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Apr 26, 2011
Words:203
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