Wednesday, 14 October 2009

HSBC’s RP unit eyes 1,000 new corporate clients a year

Erik de la Cruz
Business Mirror

WITH many local companies now seeking to penetrate the offshore markets amid globalization, British banking giant HSBC is offering itself as a prospective partner to enterprises looking for growth opportunities outside the Philippines.

HSBC, which has been operating in the country since 1875, is looking to expand its corporate customer base by at least 1,000 a year from more than 5,000 at present, said senior vice president Junie Veloso.

“We expect the number [of HSBC’s business banking customers] to definitely go up over the next couple of years,” said Veloso, who is also head of the corporate and institutional banking group. “We’re putting in between 1,000 and 1,500 new customers per annum.”

Small businesses account for about 60 percent of HSBC Philippines’ current corporate client base.

“We’re focusing on businessesthat have international requirements or aspirations,” Veloso said.

A panel discussion was organized and conducted on Tuesday by HSBC, with three of the successful entrepreneurs in the country giving insights about business sustainability in the era of globalization and prospects for recovery after the global financial crisis.

Among the panelists were jewelry designer Janina Dizon-Hoschka, Rustan Group of Companies executive vice president Anton Huang, and Hiro Asandas, who moved to the Philippines from Indiain 1954 and established himself as a manufacturer of comforters, bed sheets, pillowcases and towels under the “Canadian” brand.

Veloso said a local company looking to penetrate the offshore markets or doing business with companies abroad should partner with a foreign bank.

“If you have offshore transactions, then our advice is to use an international bank,” he said.

He said HSBC’s corporate banking group has the geographical scale that can help match a multinational company’s worldwide footprint, as the financial-services group has a vast network of some 10,000 offices in 85 countries.

The bank, he said, offers a comprehensive range of business banking services and products to both small and big companies.

Those with offshore transactions, including import-export requirements, can avail themselves of such cash-management products and services as online telegraphic transfers offered at competitive rates, electronic check- writing facility, payroll facilities and business insurance, Veloso said.

According to Veloso, local companies can benefit from the growth opportunities now being offered by the vibrant economies of Asia, particularly China and India.

The HSBC Group is represented in the Philippines through The Hong-kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. Ltd., and its subsidiary, the locally incorporated HSBC Savings Bank (Philippines) Inc.

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