HSBC said Tuesday it is in talks to sell its United States credit card and retail services business as the global banking giant shifts focus to fast-growing markets, particularly in Asia.
The lender has unveiled massive cost-cutting measures in recent months, including plans to save up to $3.5 billion by 2013 and to axe 30,000 jobs across the globe over the next two years.
But the bank has also said it will hire up to 15,000 people inemerging markets by 2014 as it looks to Asia’s booming financial sector to power future growth.
“HSBC confirms that it is in discussions regarding a possible sale of the business,” the bank said in a statement issued through its Hong Kong office.
“These discussions are ongoing and no decision has yet been made to proceed with any transaction. HSBC will make a further statement if or when appropriate.”
The banking giant said in May that it would conduct an assessment of its US branch network and cards business. Chief executive Stuart Gulliver said at the time that it could be sold but only for a “sensible” price.
Tuesday’s statement came amid fresh media speculation on the sale.
US lender Capital One Financial Corp is in advanced talks to buy HSBC’s US credit card portfolio, according to Dow Jones Newswires which quoted unnamed people familiar with the deal.
The deal, which will also include about $30 billion of credit card loans, is expected to be announced soon, although the two parties are still negotiating, the sources told Dow Jones.
HSBC — which unlike many of its rivals survived the 2008 crisis without state aid — said earlier this month it would sell 195 retail branches, primarily in upstate New York, to First Niagara Bank for an estimated $1 billion.
HSBC was founded in Hong Kong and Shanghai in 1865, although it remains headquartered in London.