Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

HSBC banking on success with some forward thinking

The global banking industry has been in meltdown in recent times and has found its industry facing down the barrel of the gun.

But as Cecil Russell, HSBC director for Northern Ireland, points out, one bank is riding out the storm with some innovative ideas.

As a bank we believe in excellence in service to businesses. We provide a variety of services to businesses here in Northern Ireland, including support to those who wish to export to other parts of the world. This category links in well with our corporate ethos and reflects our own values when it comes to doing business.

Yes I think it's important to recognise and reward exceptional performance. Receiving recognition can add value to what a company has to offer. At a time when businesses are competing within difficult market conditions, awards can help some firms to stand out from the crowd by endorsing their high level of service delivery or product quality.

Around 20% of all mortgage business is done on a Saturday or a Sunday at our Royal Avenue branch. The branch has seen its mortgage lending treble, and loans to first time buyers have increased four-fold in the past year.

HSBC offers the full range of retail, premier commercial and financial planning services including mortgages, business banking and savings accounts.

The traditional 'Big Four' tag that has applied to banking in Northern Ireland may soon have to be revised, considering the growth not just of HSBC, but of Barclays as well, in terms of branch network and market share.

Our key priority is to provide increased access to banking services that effectively meets our customers' banking needs. We have closely monitored our customers' reaction to this, and our latest figures show that flexible opening hours are a contributing factor to customer expectations and satisfaction.

Confidence in banking has been damaged by the actions of some people within the sector, and this takes time to rectify.

We have acquired a number of business accounts due to our local knowledge and international presence, which makes banking more convenient for those companies that are exporting from here. Against a background of economic turmoil, we have continued to demonstrate that we are there for our customers, open for business and in a different position from other banks.

We have been strategic in our approach to growth and intend to expand our network of branches over the next few years.

HSBC serves customers worldwide from more than 9,500 offices in 85 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. This provides a unique advantage to companies who wish to do business with other countries. We also advise Invest NI on its trade missions to other territories as we have first hand knowledge of many different cultures.

Here at HSBC we're still lending to businesses and to mortgage customers. And we'll continue to lend.

HSBC has acquired many new customers who have moved their banking from other banks due to a lack of confidence. We listen to our customers and 85% of customers are 'very satisfied' with the bank's services.

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