HSBC will close its retail branches in South Korea from July 8, the bank has announced.

The British-based lender, which currently has 11 branches in South Korea, also plans to close its wealth management businesses.

HSBC will maintain a single office for its global banking and markets unit. The move is part of a review by HSBC over its global businesses, which has led to 52 closures and disposals since 2011.

South Korea is the latest of 17 markets to have retail services withdrawn by HSBC, and joins axed retail divisions in Chile, Canada, Russia and Poland.

"HSBC remains committed to the Korean market and continues to invest in developing its Korean Global Banking and Markets and Corporation Banking Business," HSBC commented.

Approval is being sought by HSBC to close the branches from South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service.

The Korean unit of HSBC posted a net profit of $37.3 million in the first quarter, according to Global Post, with its employees numbering at 790.

The announcement follows a series of discussions made in 2012 between HSBC and The Korea Development Bank over the sale of its retail banking business, although an outcome has not been announced.

This is one step of HSBC’s global plan, which in 2012 involved the sale of US credit card business to Capital One for $31.3bn.

HSBC first established a presence in Korea in 1897 with the opening of a representative office in Chemulpo. Full service branches opened in Pusan in 1982 and in Seoul in 1984.


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