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Steve Chiotakis: Europe’s biggest bank, HSBC, says it’s cutting back its consumer lending in the United States. The bank reported a big fall in profits today after heavy losses on U.S. subprime mortgages. Our man in London, Stephen Beard has more.
Stephen Beard: HSBC is one of the world’s strongest banks, but it’s been badly bruised in America. Its U.S. subsidiary lost more $15 billion last year. The bank says it will close most of its Beneficial and HFC branches in the States. More than 6,000 jobs could be lost.
Today, HSBC launched an $18 billion rights issue. That’s when stockholders are asked to buy more shares. The money will be used largely to hunt for new acquisitions.
Probably not in the U.S., says analyst Alex Potter:
Alex Potter: They’ve already got, I think, quite as much excitement as they want in the United States. They’ve already got a dominant presence here in the U.K. I think they’ll look to some of the economies of the future for opportunities to expand in terms of buying businesses.
HSBC says they’re looking to buy banks in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.
In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.
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