HSBC is closing down its retail arm in Kuwait.

The announcement comes soon after
HSBC agreed to sell its Chilean retail banking operations, in late
September, to Banco Itaú Chile
– a subsidiary of Itaú Unibanco,
Brazil’s largest private-sector bank by assets.

HSBC also exited retail operations in Russia
and Poland in the
first half of the year and will be
divesting its retail operations in Georgia by early 2012

HSBC’s retail banking offer in Kuwait, HSBC
Premier, will no longer be made available after 31 December

In a statement to RBI, CEO of HSBC
Bank Middle East in Kuwait, Simon Vaughan Johnson, said, “HSBC is
strongly committed to the Kuwaiti market and is proud to trace its
roots back to 1942.

“Looking to the future, as increasing numbers
of large capital projects are commissioned, we are confident that
HSBC is well placed to assist in facilitating investment flows and
to support the future economic development of Kuwait.”

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HSBC will also stop offering brokerage
services to its retail customers in Kuwait and concentrate on
institutional investors. HSBC is the latest in a line of
institutions to have either cut back or closed down their brokerage

A message on HSBC Kuwait’s website said that
the decision to close down HSBC’s retail unit, and focus
exclusively on HSBC’s global banking and markets, commercial
banking and private banking businesses, followed a “strategic
review” of its operations and activities in Kuwait. 

The message on the HSBC Kuwait website added,
“We will ensure firstly that we continue to meet our contractual
obligations to you in the intervening period; secondly that you
receive an uninterrupted service; and thirdly that you experience a
smooth transition, should you require our assistance in finding
alternative banking arrangements, whether elsewhere within the HSBC
Group or with a local financial services provider.”