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HSBC, a trusted familiar face and name

Article - August 26, 2013
One of the largest banks in the world is a well established brand in Bangladesh that adds strength to the country’s banking sector
HSBC has been in Bangladesh since 1996 and today has 13 branches in four cities, serviced by a staff of over 900. Andrew Tilke, CEO, discusses how the bank leverages its expertise and international interconnectivity to help Bangladesh meet its development goals while growing business opportunities for its customers.
What are HSBC’s competitive advantages in Bangladesh’s financial sector?

Our trade expertise goes back nearly 150 years since we were founded in Hong Kong in 1865. We won the Euromoney award last year for Best Domestic Cash Management Bank in Bangladesh and in Asia and globally, so that is a reflection of our strength. One of the things that Bangladesh Bank and the regulatory authorities value here as well is that we can bring international expertise to Bangladesh; they are very receptive to discussions on innovation, on new ideas, on new products, on new regulations.

Brand recognition is certainly another point in our favour. When people come to Bangladesh if there is a name that they know, that’s here, that they trust and they will be able to engage with, then that will give some assurance. There’s that comfort factor knowing that there is a trusted, familiar face and name. And for us, we have a very international outlook as a group; we have over 900 staff here, of which most are locals, with a few expats. We take a lot of pride in taking our Bangladeshi staff overseas for attachments, then bringing them back and using that knowledge and gained experience in our business here.
Also, we are the only bank that works in seven of Bangladesh’s eight export processing zones (and we’re now trying for the eighth). We established ourselves in the export processing zones to facilitate international trade, manufacturing and export, which are really crucial in the economy here.
What sectors is HSBC most actively involved in? And how important is Bangladesh within the global HSBC business? 

Our commercial banking business here has been designated as one of the top 20 global priority sites within the HSBC group, which means that we see significant opportunity to continue investing in our business here in Bangladesh. As for sectors, within the country’s Vision 2021, there are some challenges. The power sector and infrastructure are obviously ones where further work is needed. 

HSBC has a role to play directly and indirectly in helping Bangladesh to move to 2021 goals in that respect. We signed a deal in December where we arranged financing for a large power project here and we brought a range of international investors into that project. 

We have a direct role to play in helping to arrange financing to improve the infrastructure and power infrastructure of the country. Equally we see we have a role to play in being an on-the-ground expert if you want to understand Bangladesh. We spend a lot of time actually meeting with people who say, “I’m coming to Bangladesh, can I come and see you?” 
We also take Bangladeshi businesspeople on exchange trips abroad to meet with other HSBC customers and help them develop business links and relationships.We have a significant number of multinationals and also Asian corporate customers coming to Bangladesh, in addition to our large customer base of Bangladeshi manufacturing and exporting companies.