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HSBC Wraps Up French Retail Business Sale; To Launch International Payments App

Editorial Staff 3 January 2024

HSBC Wraps Up French Retail Business Sale; To Launch International Payments App

The New Year got off to a busy start for the UK/Hong Kong-listed group. It has just completed the sale of a retail banking business, and it is about to launch a new international payments app that can compete against fintechs such as Revolut.

HSBC has wrapped up the sale of its French retail banking business to Crédit Commercial de France (CCF), a subsidiary of My Money Group.

“I am delighted with this positive start to 2024 – our team in Europe will continue with the aim of becoming the leading international wholesale bank in Europe, complemented by a targeted Wealth and Private Banking business,” Noel Quinn, group chief executive, said in a statement. 

The Hong Kong/London-listed bank, which is headquartered in the UK, said that “all necessary regulatory approvals were obtained and the transaction completed on 1 January.”

Reuters quoted My Money Group on Sunday as saying it would have total assets surpassing €30 billion ($33.11 billion) and a solvency position with a CET1 ratio exceeding 15 per cent at the Monday market close.

Banks have been rationalising part of their business lines in recent years. For example, Citigroup has been spinning off more than a dozen retail banking operations around the world, focusing more on areas such as wealth management.

International payments app
In a separate move, Bloomberg reported this week that HSBC is rolling out an international payments app aimed at directly challenging the dominance of fintechs such as Revolut and Wise which have gathered tens of millions of retail customers by offering cheap foreign exchange.

Zing will initially be offered in the UK, but HSBC will offer the service in other places in the coming months as it seeks to grab a share of the fast-growing market servicing affluent consumers, the report said.

The app will be available on Apple’s Appstore and Alphabet’s Google Play platform within days. It will be open to non-HSBC customers as the bank prepares to “attack” the worldwide retail payments market, according to Nuno Matos, chief executive officer of the lender’s global wealth and personal banking business. Matos was quoted by Bloomberg as saying it would take about three minutes for a new user to sign up.

The retail/mass-affluent banking space has been targeted by a number of fintechs, as chronicled by this news service here.

“Zing has a global ambition,” Matos said in an interview. “We want to establish ourselves as a global platform for international payments, which ties perfectly with our international payments strategy for HSBC and you should see us very soon in Asia, in the Middle East and in EU markets,” he was quoted as saying. 

This news service has asked HSBC to confirm details of the report and may update in due course.

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