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To promote rapid decision making and local accountability, the head office provided only the essential functions (HRM, strategic planning, legal control)
HUB (HSBC Universal Banking) which ran IT applications and credit control systems
Required subsidiaries to remit profits to the center
“ Our traditional modus operandi really was as the world’s local bank. We had a local customer base, local management, local deposits, local lending. We acknowledged that the world is not a homogenous place that could be micromanaged from several thousand miles away.” --local manager (pg.146)
HSBC Control and Management HSBC’s traditional strategy was to invest surplus profits from its dominant position in Hong Kong elsewhere to improve their performance In 1998, HSBC overlaid “customer groups” upon its existing geographic organization which centralized and shared best practices in product development, management, and marketing
How HSBC Differed from Competitors All transactions exceeding $50 million were submitted to London for same-day approval which required regulatory parameters. This differed from competitors who let local managers decide what to distribute
HSBC was known as “thrifty, cautious, disciplined, and risk averse.”
HSBC managers emphasized to air on the side of caution.
Despite its extreme conservatism, its volatility is believed to benefit HSBC
HSBC Character Frugality has always been a virtue at HSBC where all staff fly economy class, including Chairman Bond. Bond took the subway to work and encouraged staff to turn off office lights at night. HSBC created a program called International Managers for young recruits which gave them insight into the company and placed a value on determination and hard work
HSBC’S Branding Techniques After talks about possible decentralization, HSBC took a major turn around and formulated a new strategic plan. In 2002, HSBC rolled out the tagline “the world’s local bank” with $50 million spent on advertising. “ The global piece differentiated us, and the local piece made us relevant to local customers. ” --HSBC manager
What can HSBC bring to a leading North American consumer finance company such as Household?
HSBC can bring to leading consumer finance company such as Household the structured international collaboration it took to focus on the local markets and apply that to the private consumer financing aspect of Household.
Household hoped to develop local consumer data by partnering with local subsidiaries of existing corporate clients and cross-selling financial products
HSBC’s reliance on Household’s skills required training and integration across the board. This depended upon the developing relationships between colleagues and cultural integration.
Is HSBC organizationally ready to take on consumer finance?
HSBC has a 50 year perspective under their belt and is cautious in their decision making. HSBC is ready to forego a venture into consumer finance with the help of Household International. It has the foreign operations skills to know how to invest in client relationships and acquire funds from different markets. The only thing lacking is the knowledge of how to develop local consumer data.
Should Sir John Bond have bought Household International?
The evidence indicates that Household had tripled HSBC’s provisions for bad debts. Household had also settled a course case dealing with excessively high interest rates. Clearly there was a rocky beginning with the buy out of Household but through diligent integration, Bond could successfully benefit from this acquisition.