HSBC joins Citi and Bank of China’s intentions to close its retail branches from Saturday.
Hong Kong extends its flight ban to 4 March 2022.
Hong Kong has been suffering from a severe rise in covid-19 infections since 2020. Over 2,000 test results were positive on 22 February. The rapid pace of confirmed cases has caused many banks that operate in the region to shut down their branches.
Several weeks ago HSBC, Standard Chartered, and the Bank of China began shutting their branches in Hong Kong. Staff infections were the primary reason. Approximately 90% of transactions in Hong Kong are taking place online.
HSBC Holdings Plc, Citigroup Inc., and the Bank of China (Hong Kong) all announced that they will temporarily shut all of the retail branches in Hong Kong from 5 March (Saturday).
HSBC wrote in a statement that “this is a precautionary measure to safeguard the health and safety of the bank’s employees and customers in light of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong.”
Ewen Stevenson, the CFO of HSBC warned yesterday that the revenue in Q1 may be affected because of the bank’s decision to close its branches in Hong Kong.
Relocating to Singapore and Flight Ban Extension
Citigroup has already begun relocating some of its senior staff from Hong Kong to Singapore. The senior employees include Lee McQueen, Sue Lee, Kevin Zolkiewicz, Rob McVie, and Abhishek Chaudhary.
Hang Seng, Nanyang Commercial Bank, Bank, and ICBC Asia have already closed some of their branches on Saturday. The Bank of East Asia has done the same.
Additionally, Hong Kong has adopted moderate restrictions to contain the virus. International arrivals are required to be placed in quarantine for 21 days. Moreover, Hong Kong extended the flight ban from the United States, Canada, Australia, France, UK, Pakistan, India, Philippines, and Nepal until 4 Match 2022.
Despite the fact most of the new infections are transmitted locally, Hong Kong is beginning to shut itself down from the rest of the world. Flights to Hong Kong are down by 90% (approx.).