HSBC Shuts More H.K. Branches, Plans to Close All on Saturdays

by BLOOMBERG

HSBC Holdings Plc said it will be closing all of its retail branches in Hong Kong temporarily on Saturdays starting from March 5 as the Asian financial hub scrambles to contain its worst wave of Covid outbreak.

The city’s largest lender will also shut 11 more outlets starting from Wednesday as several staff tested positive for Covid-19, the London-based bank said in a statement. HSBC, which operates about 100 outlets in Hong Kong, last week closed some branches, including the one in its main office building in the Central district.

Hong Kong has been hit by the worst outbreak since the pandemic began, with new infections now in the thousands each day. It will conduct compulsory testing of its entire 7.4 million population three times in March, deploying a key mainland China strategy in a bid to slow an outbreak that’s pushed the city’s resources to the brink.

“This is a precautionary measure to safeguard the health and safety of the bank’s employees and customers in light of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong,” according to the statement.

HSBC’s chief financial officer Ewen Stevenson cautioned on Tuesday that there could be some disappointment in wealth revenues in the first quarter as the bank had to close about half its branches in Hong Kong.