| June 13, 2011

HSBC mulls end to its credit card lending

Consumers who have some of their credit card debt controlled by the major lender HSBC may soon find that the institution plans to begin shutting down the business.

The chief executive officer for HSBC recently announced that if it cannot find a buyer for its $33 billion U.S. credit card portfolio in the near future, it will begin a “rundown” of its business, according to a report from Reuters. However, the bank – Europe’s largest – is still currently reviewing all aspects of its credit card business.

HSBC revealed last month that it wanted to cut about $3.5 billion in costs and scale back its retail banking, the report said. It believes it can do this with the U.S. credit card portfolio because the customer base for it is largely unconnected to other aspects of its business. Instead, it will focus on emerging markets such as Indonesia.

U.S. credit card holders have largely shifted their borrowing habits in the wake of the national recession, including scaling back spending on these accounts sharply and paying more into their balances.

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