HSBC's Greek branches ready for drachma

James Moore
Saturday 19 May 2012 14:32 BST
Comments

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

HSBC has set out contingency plans for all its 15 Greek branches to cope with a return of the drachma.

Iain Mackay, HSBC finance director, said it had made "preparations at multiple levels" to cope with the currency's re-emergence from an 11-year hibernation should Greece leave the euro. The bank has already reduced its exposure to Greece but has also trained staff at its branch network to be ready should the worst happen. This includes work to manage IT systems, branch funding, how to deal with customers and how to update ATM systems to dispense drachmas.

Mr Mackay said that the planning has been a challenge because it is impossible to do a "dry run" unless and until Greece leaves the single currency. "You can theorise and inform staff but you can't do more than that because it is A, inappropriate, and might lead to events you are trying to avoid and, B, there are legal, structural and regulatory issues," he said.

He was speaking after the company's recent investor day. During it he and Stuart Gulliver, the chief executive, said cost cuts would come in at the top of forecasts.

They also said they wanted to see an end to the market's view of HSBC as "a defensive stock" with a share price that rises less in good times but falls less at times of crisis.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in