Wednesday, February 18, 2015


After admitting that has literally accepted billions of dollars in cash deposits, from a variety of dodgy customers, for years, and suffering repeated regulatory penalties due to this misconduct, HSBC has now gone to the other extreme, resulting in damage to its regular clients in the process. The bank is declining to allow withdrawals of only a couple of thousand pounds by its longstanding clients, unless the customer provides documentation, or evidence, regarding the purpose of the money. You have to be kidding me; that's like closing the barn door, after the cow is long gone.

Small amounts of cash, unless there are multiple, repeated withdrawals, are not evidence of money laundering, especially when a longtime, legitimate bank client is asking for money on a onetime basis. This has to be one of the most stupid bank policies that I have ever seen; it will alienate the customer base, result in a loss of clients and business, and cause unintended reputation damage. If I am an HSBC client, and I want a couple of thousand pounds out of my account, not tens of thousands, and you decline my request,you may lose me as a customer, and I will certainly tell my business associates about the incident. Is that what the bank wants ?

Candidly, the bank has enough problems this week, with the Swiss authorities investigating the HSBCs private banking branch, and a senior reporter for one of the UKs biggest newspapers, the Telegraph, resigning in disgust, due to the paper's reputed censorship of negative news about HSBC at the Telegraph, so that it could retain its lucrative advertising contract income.

This policy demonstrates that HSBC management still does not understand how to operate an effective AML/CFT program. I do not care how many times it brings in individuals with stellar AML/CFT credentials; it still cannot get it right. Come on, gentlemen, this is low-risk customer service, not cash from Mexican cartel money launderers, that you are fussing over.

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