British banking giant HSBC is further strengthening its consumer banking business in the Philippines, even as other foreign banks exit the country's retail banking space amid a banking turmoil affecting global players.

Surendra Rosha, co-chief executive of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. Ltd, said in a press conference the bank is keeping its retail banking segment in the country.

'Absolutely, we think that there is a continued opportunity for a bank of our footprint to have a wealth and personal banking operation in a market like the Philippines,' Rosha said.

To link it with its international footprint, Rosha noted 'customers that will come to bank with us will be either individuals who have accounts in other parts of the world.'

Rosha said some of their clients are Filipinos who have families abroad or investments abroad needing to do cross border transactions.

'So we appreciate that we play in a relatively niche space for the personal banking side, but we think there was an absolute reason for us to be confident of having a strong and thriving business,' Rosha said.

In contrast, American bank Citi and Dutch financial institution ING have completed their exit from the retail banking space in the Philippines.

HSBC Philippines president and CEO Sandeep Uppal said the bank's commitment to the consumer banking segment in the country was shown when it launched its wealth management arm in August last year.

HSBC Wealth via HSBC Investment and Insurance Brokerage Philippines Inc. was introduced to offer a range of unit investment trust funds (UITFs) that cover a range of asset classes and risk profiles, letting clients create a diversified portfolio.

These complement HSBC Wealth's fixed-income investment and investment-linked insurance products.

At present, HSBC is focused on further expanding and solidifying its roots in Southeast Asia and establishing itself as one of the leading international banks in the region. It endeavors to help current and prospective customers explore opportunities within ASEAN, and open doors to further their wealth and business investments.

According to Uppal, the Philippines offers tremendous growth opportunities.

'Within the ASEAN context, Philippines on various parameters is one of the leading markets,' Uppal said.

'In Southeast Asia, the Philippines is a strategic growth market given its status as a leading economy in the region, and second largest by population with one of the fastest growing GDP,' HSBC said.

At present, economic trends on rising consumption, rising production, and rising demand for services are observed as the local economy bounces back post COVID.

Uppal said opportunities are also seen in the adoption of renewable energy and mobility through shifting to electric vehicles for mass transport.

Both Uppal and Rosha are confident that the Philippine banking sector remains stable amid the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in the US as well as the crisis affecting Credit Suisse in Europe.


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