HSBC bucks trend to open branches

Looking to capitalise on resentment towards the country's four big banks, HSBC has opened three branches in the suburbs of Sydney in the past six weeks – at Bondi Junction, Maroubra and North Ryde's Macquarie Shopping Centre.

HSBC Australia's head of personal financial services, Mr Kevin Martin said the major banks are “to be honest, treating their customers poorly”. To spirit market share away from the four big banks, HSBC has a multi-channel distribution strategy and branches are a key component of this.

In coming months its national network will grow to 23 branches.

The bank’s quick response to online savings accounts pioneered by ING Direct is evidence of its aggressive strategy to reach into the broader community. It recognised the potential of this new breed of ‘virtual accounts’ launching its own online savings account which, Mr Martin says, has been a “sensational” performer for the bank.

HSBC is the second bank to set itself the task of moving branch representation vacated by the four main banks. Part of one of the biggest banking groups in the world this week it paid about $138 million for NRMA Insurance's building society.

Bendigo Bank has transformed community frustration into a successful community banking network. A local entity forms a company, raises investment funds locally and purchases from Bendigo Bank the right to run a banking branch.

‘HSBC looks for a slice of the retail pie', AFR, 4/10/2001