HSBC Bank China fined 530,000 yuan for seeking customers' credit info, further damaging reputation

By GT staff reporters Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/6 23:15:51 Last Updated: 2020/8/7 13:34:52

Photo: VCG

HSBC Bank (China) and its bank directors have been fined by the Shanghai Head Office of the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, on Tuesday, as the bank inquired about customers' personal credit information without acquiring customers' permission. 

The bank was fined a total of 530,000 yuan ($76,260), including 450,000 yuan on the HSBC Bank (China) Company, the Shanghai sector of China's central bank revealed on Thursday. The punishment was made amid the bank's growing controversy in China, which further damaged its reputation in the lucrative market. 

The deputy head of HSBC Bank (China) Company and director of the retail and health management sectors Li Feng was fined 50,000 yuan, as Li was found responsible for the illegal act.  

Another manager at the retail bank of HSBC in South China's Guangdong, Li Hualun, was fined 20,000 yuan. Zheng Guowei, manager of the collection sector under HSBC wealth management department, was fined 10,000 yuan. 

Based in Shanghai, the HSBC Bank (China) Company was founded in 2007. 

Analysts warned the case further damaged HSBC's reputation in the lucrative Chinese market. 

HSBC has been facing increasingly intense pressure in the Chinese mainland over its involvement in the Huawei issue, and a series of reported misdeeds that have largely damaged its reputation among Chinese clients.  

In late July, Huawei provided evidence to a Canadian court showing how HSBC conspired with the US Department of Justice to set a "political trap" for Huawei and gave false testimony to the court, sparking widespread blame on the bank among the Chinese public.

Netizens called Chinese authorities to conduct a "thorough investigation" on the firm's involvement in the Huawei case, and also urged the government to put it on the country's unreliable list.

The London-based bank saw its after-tax profits plunge 69 percent to $3.1 billion in the first half of 2020. Analysts warned that the poor result is just the beginning of the "consequences" the firm will experience in the Chinese market, and said the worst-case scenario for the bank could be eviction from China.

On July 24, China's banking and insurance regulator in Shenzhen approved HSBC's request to shut down a branch located in Shenzhen's northeastern Longgang district. HSBC said it was part of a normal branch structuring plan.

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