HSBC says it remains committed to Malaysia

The international bank is investing in Malaysia to improve its customers’ experience, including its franchise’s technology, branch footprint and people’s skills

by S BIRRUNTHA / Pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd has not taken any further action on the 93 police reports lodged nationwide by the National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) against the bank’s CEO Stuart Milne (picture) for his decision to retrench employees.

“Nothing on that from HSBC’s end,” the bank told The Malaysian Reserve when contacted regarding the matter on Wednesday.

The international bank said Malaysia remains a priority market and it is investing to improve its customers’ experience in doing business with the bank, including its franchise’s technology, branch footprint and people’s skills.

It said some examples of the bank’s investments include its US$250 million (RM1.04 billion) new Malaysian headquarters and US$40 million of marked digital investment up to 2023.

This is in addition to US$18 million that has already been invested into its Malaysian branch network over the past three years.

“The changes we are making to the bank will also involve the creation of more than 200 new roles to adapt to the evolving banking landscape and redeploying our people into these new roles,” the bank’s spokesperson stated in an email.

On Wednesday, NUBE said it had lodged 93 police reports nationwide against HSBC’s Milne for his decision to retrench the bank workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Its secretary general J Solomon said on May 18, 2020, when there were 44 new Covid-19 cases, the King had urged employers not to retrench workers indiscriminately and advised all parties to do their part and make sacrifices to save the nation’s economy.

“However, on June 3, the CEO of HSBC Bank chose to announce the retrenchment scheme for 600 workers just when new cases of Covid-19 skyrocketed to 8,209 cases with a record 103 deaths.

“This announcement was made despite the huge profit recorded by the bank. Worse, the target groups were the B40 (bottom 40% group) and M40 (middle 40% group). It is clear that the CEO’s announcement undermined the advice of the King,” he said in a statement.

Solomon said under normal circumstances, the government would have acted immediately to stop HSBC’s act of disobedience.

Earlier this month, HSBC denied that up to 600 of its staff will be sacked in the downsizing exercise, to be conducted in stages this year.

However, the bank said it could not disclose the total number of employees that will be affected.

HSBC stated it was offering a voluntary separation scheme to certain segments of its workforce, which they may choose to take advantage of should redeployment not be possible.

“We would like to reiterate that the scheme is voluntary and will only be applied to employees that choose to accept it.

“We have a history of more than 130 years in Malaysia and plan to continue serving our customers and investing in our people, network and businesses,” the bank said.