August 2nd, 2011
10:32 AM GMT
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Cutting 30,000 jobs despite recording almost $12 billion in profit may sound irresponsible – but it’s not.

Banks are basically huge computers with relationship managers interfacing with customers. While most investment in retail banks has drawn to a halt, technology departments have actually grown, with the level of automation increasing.

Banks need to be more effective because you can now get a loan at a car dealer, a credit card at an electronics store, or buy insurance while you pay for your apples at a local grocery store.

HSBC’s Global Realignment: Cut, boost and profit

The very definition of a bank is being stretched beyond recognition.

Why is this happening? Because it’s cheap.

In the 1990s, a basic core banking system necessary to manage accounts would cost you about $100 million. Today the same functionality comes off the shelf at about $1million.

At that price grocery chains, car dealers and electronic stores can easily start a bank in support of their own products.

And that is what’s killing retail banking.

As a result, banks have invested heavily in automating the banking experience and automation does not require an endless supply of people.

Banks are moving in the right direction; more automation to deal with the boring transaction and more emphasis on the area that matters most - client interactions.

This is why banks are downsizing and it is a positive step forward.

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Filed under: Banking

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. John

    Greed. pure GREED. The company executives at HSBC surely won't cut any of the executive team. They'll get bonuses for saving the company money. This 30,000 people (families) affected. This is one easy way to win a free trip to Hell.

    Greed.. pure greed!

    August 2, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  2. Scott

    Cutting 30,000 jobs while making billions in profits is not necessary, it's greedy. Corporations like HSBC are going to make America a third world country.

    August 2, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  3. Henry

    How do you figure this is a positive step forward? This is another step to loose jobs and put the consumer through hell hole loops trying to get an actual agent. It's not to only save the bank money but it's also to ensure that a consumer can't speak to anyone. Pull your money from the bank and stick it in your mattress or something don't trust banks they allow Levies on your account. Meaning that the irs government or any other creditor can levy your account thorugh a court order. Go back to old school banking change isn't always a good thing. They push this on consumers to make them believe it's more efficent it is for them not for you.

    August 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  4. james marshall

    Oh really? cutting 25,000 jobs and increasing profits?

    August 2, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  5. Rajesh

    Inside of a bank, it's a big computer. no doubt. but it can't just use the computer to sell wealth management products to customer. That's where the branches come in. Nothing sells itself. You need ppl to sell it, like you go to Apple Store instead of buying from the Dell website. HSBC just cant' compete with the local US banks as its service has no significant difference or better than other banks. In term of the bank customer website, HSBC is the worst comparing to WFC, Chase, and BOA. Even in Asia, HSBC can't compete with Citi, which is the "real" world's local bank. HSBC can't do well in developed countries where the regulation and compliance are more sophisticated than most of the developing counties. Money comes in easier in Asia now. Every place has its turn.

    August 2, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  6. Variant_530

    The author of this article has a flawed opinion. Yes grocery stores, car dealerships, e.t.c. can issue a credit card. But they need banks with large efficient operations and back office staff to service and collect on those issued cards. Furthermore its not efficiency that killing jobs in the retail banking market. Its over regulation.

    August 4, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  7. Paul Johnston, PhD Economics

    The bailout has been a massive farce by corrupt EU Bankers and Politicians in the FRAUD OF THE CENTURY!
    The Greeks, Italians, Portuguese should have never been allowed to have the Euro & are now causing it to fail.

    August 6, 2011 at 5:38 am |
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    Let will be your way. Do, as want.

    November 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
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