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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 June, 2004, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
HSBC bank slashes 3,500 UK jobs
HSBC bank
Most of the jobs are to go at the bank's head office
UK banking giant HSBC is cutting up to 3,500 head office and other UK support role jobs to cut costs.

At the same time, the bank, which made a record profit of 6.9bn ($12.8bn) in 2003, is to take on an extra 1,000 staff across its UK branch network.

Five hundred of the jobs which are being cut in the UK will move to HSBC's call-centres in India and Malaysia.

The Unifi banking union reacted with fury, describing the move as a "savage" jobs cull.

HSBC said the changes were designed to improve the productivity of the group's UK banking operations, which represent a quarter of the group's profits but 33% of its costs.

Evenly spread

The bulk of the cuts will be made mainly in London, where HSBC is based, and at regional management centres across the country.

HSBC said more than 500 jobs would go with the closure of three processing centres, while 800 back office jobs would be cut across its UK bank branch network.

A spokesman for HSBC said: "These jobs cuts are spread very evenly throughout our operations in England and will have a minimal impact elsewhere in the UK."

HSBC said costs in the UK were rising almost as fast as revenues, with between 2001 and 2003 income increasing by 9.8% while costs rose 8.4%.

Financial counselling

"We must make decisions now, however difficult, to manage for the future," said HSBC chief executive Michael Geoghegan.

The bank is hoping that redeployment and natural staff turnover will account for a "significant" proportion of the lost positions, which will go over the next 24 months.

HSBC has earmarked 2m for career and financial counselling and said it will seek to redeploy affected staff into roles across the UK.

Last October, HSBC revealed it was exporting 4,000 UK-based customer service jobs to China, India, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Rob O'Neill from UNIFI banking union
"We believe that HSBC are going in the wrong direction"

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