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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

'Havoc' as HSBC prepares to close diplomatic accounts





HSBC bank has reportedly asked more than 40 diplomatic missions to close their accounts as part of a programme to reduce business risks.


The Vatican's ambassadorial office in Britain, the Apostolic Nunciature, is among those said to be affected.

The head of the UK's Consular Corps told the Mail on Sunday the decision has created "havoc".

The Foreign Office has been in touch with HSBC, stepping in to help diplomats open other bank accounts.

HSBC said embassies were subject to the same assessments as its other business customers. They need to satisfy five criteria - international connectivity, economic development, profitability, cost efficiency and liquidity.

A spokesman said: "HSBC has been applying a rolling programme of "five filter" assessments to all its businesses since May 2011, and our services for embassies are no exception.

"We do not comment on individual customer relationships."

The Mail on Sunday reported that the High Commission of Papua New Guinea and the Honorary Consulate of Benin have also been asked to move their accounts within 60 days.

Bernard Silver, head of the Consular Corps, which represents consuls in the UK, told the paper: "HSBC's decision has created havoc.

"Embassies and consulates desperately need a bank, not just to take in money for visas and passports but to pay staff wages, rent bills, even the congestion charge." read more


Related:
Unmasking the embassy threat