HSBC opens first branch in SA

Global banking group HSBC, which was recently awarded a banking licence in South Africa, has opened a branch in the country — its first sub-Saharan branch in Africa.

The branch, based in Johannesburg and officially opened by South African Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni, will serve the bank’s corporate and commercial customers in the region.

Speaking at the launch event, Stephen Green, group chief executive of HSBC Holdings plc, said: “The fact that Johannesburg serves as the regional management office for the group’s business in sub-Saharan Africa highlights HSBC’s commitment to the region. By combining the business previously conducted under the HSBC Equator Bank banner with those of our South African operations under the new branch mantle, we now have a consolidated service to offer our clients.

“We see opportunity in many areas. Clearly at the macro-level, the Pan-African initiatives of Nepad [the New Partnership for Africa’s Development] have been a very positive move for the region. And here in South Africa, on the eve of celebrating 10 years of democracy, we welcome the initiatives taken to foster and develop economic growth across the community.”

Green stressed HSBC’s aim to be a good citizen wherever it operates: “For example, we have funded the renovation of the Hlokomelo ward in the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, providing critical care for children, and built new classrooms, completed this month, at Tshelemani school in KwaZulu-Natal.

“We also provide 60 bursaries for children from disadvantaged communities to attend the University of Cape Town and last year financed the Raphael HIV/Aids centre in Grahamstown.”

The new HSBC Bank branch began serving customers in November 2003 and has 130 employees. It serves large, multinational organisations doing business in Africa, and domestic corporate and commercial banking clients. Services offered include corporate lending and deposit facilities, treasury and capital markets, and trade services.

This is in addition to the investment banking, equities, research and wealth management services already offered by the group in South Africa. — I-Net Bridge

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