London-headquartered HSBC is to exit its US retail and small business banking market in a strategic move to focus more heavily on its main corporate and investment banking presence across Asia.

The bank said in a statement towards the end of Wednesday 26 May it would exit retail banking for most individual and small business customers but retain a small physical presence in the US to serve its international affluent and very wealthy clients.

Ninety of its 148 US branches are to be sold with HSBC talking to Citizens Bank and Cathay General Bancorp among others about a deal which will be subject to regulatory approvals. 

HSBC said it planned to turn about 20 locations into international centres for high-net worth individuals, and wind down the remaining 35-40 branches.

"They are good businesses, but we lacked the scale to compete," Noel Quinn, HSBC group CEO, said in the statement.

"This next chapter of HSBC's presence in the US will see the team focus on our competitive strengths, connecting our global wholesale and wealth management clients to other markets around the world."

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