BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Monday was a busy day for HSBC Holdings: the London-based firm announced it is laying off two-percent of its workforce, worldwide–that’s about 4,000 workers that could be losing their jobs.
The United Kingdom financial services company also announced HSBC Group CEO John Flint is leaving the company, after only 18 months on the job, following the previously announced departure of HSBC Bank USA president Patrick Burke.
How will these changes affect the hundreds of HSBC employees here in Western New York?
HSBC sold off its entire Upstate New York and Connecticut network of bank branches 7 years ago,. but there are still 3,000 HSBC employees working here, mainly in back office operations at the HSBC Atrium downtown, and a call center in Depew.
Associate Professor Cristian Tiu of the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Management does not see those changes having much of an impact here.
“Back office jobs that are still left in Western New York can move into similar jobs in the banks that have those back office positions in Western New York.”
But earlier this summer there were reports that HSBC might be adding more retail bank branches in North America and there is already a new branch planned for Depew, adjacent to the call center on Walden Avenue.
Anthony Ogorek, President of Ogorek Wealth Management does not believe HSBC is going to make a return to Western New York and expand its footprint of bank branches.
“You don’t need to go into a branch anymore. So again the need for brick-and-mortar, the need to pay for the infrastructure, the taxes, the personnel, the benefits, all of that for what? I don’t see it.”
Ogorek points out 80 percent of HSBC’s profits derive from Asia markets, which is where an expansion might take place. Conversely with the bank’s world headquarters in London, which is in the midst of the United Kingdom’s turmoil over Brexit, Ogorek said that could be where job might be cut.
“The financial industry has been looking at that and saying we don’t know what kinds of deals are going to be happening, and we are going to be moving significant numbers of people out of London to other locations around the world.”
Regional banks have been setting up new operations in the Buffalo area, and Western New York’s older population would seem to favor branch banking.
Both Ogorek and Professor Tiu say, HSBC is an international banking corporation, so any significant changes in their operations would likely take place in the world’s larger banking centers.