HSBC said it would withdraw from US mass market retail banking by selling some parts of its business and winding down others.

Europe’s biggest bank has for years been trying to shrink its presence in some European and North American markets where it has struggled against competition from larger domestic players.

The bank said in a statement late on Wednesday it would exit retail banking for most individual and small business customers but retain a small physical presence in the United States to serve its international affluent and very wealthy clients.

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

Citizens Bank, part of Citizens Financial Group, has agreed to buy HSBC’s east coast personal and small business banking business including 80 branches, and Cathay Bank, a unit of Cathay General Bancorp has agreed to buy its west coast business including 10 branches, according to HSBC and separate statements from the banks.

These did not say what the two US-headquartered banks paid for the businesses, though HSBC said it expected to incur pre-tax costs of US$100 million connected with the transactions. – (Reuters)

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