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Boom despite the Gloom

Simon Cooper, Deputy Chairman and CEO, HSBC Middle East & North Africa, discusses the past year and reinforcing its position as a leading international bank.

May 22, 2012 2:15 by

As far as our commitment to the UAE is concerned, we recently announced our intention to acquire the onshore bank­ing assets of Lloyds Banking Group in the UAE, which clearly underscores the strategic importance of the UAE and the MENA region as a whole, to HSBC.

Is it true that banks in the region have stopped or curtailed lending to keep their balance sheets clean?

While I can’t comment on behalf of other banks, HSBC has not stopped lending: our strategy is to support our customers and their businesses, while growing our own. However, we have focused on improving the quality of our book and de-risking the balance sheet. We have seen a significant im­provement in delinquency trends and at the end of 2011, Loan Impairment Charges (LICs) were at their lowest levels since 2008.

Our approach has been to re-balance our business in response to shifting mar­ket opportunities in MENA. As a result of that action, our 2011 full-year finan­cial results in MENA grew more than 67 percent compared to 2010.

Where do you see your growth coming from?

Our strategy in MENA is absolutely aligned with HSBC’s global strategy, which aims to strengthen the group’s presence in markets and businesses most relevant to global trade and capital flows; invest in markets where wealth is being created; and focus on retail banking where we can achieve profit­able scale.



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