ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Global Banking in Retreat?

HSBC, which operates in more than 80 countries, is in the midst of a signifi cant retreat from various markets, including retail banking in Brazil and Turkey. Last year, Citibank, another global player, cut its exposure to global consumer banking by nearly half to 24 countries. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has announced plans to withdraw from many of the 38 countries from which it operates and become a predominantly British bank. Standard Chartered, which is mainly a player in emerging markets, is facing pressure from its shareholders to effect a pull-out from some of the 60 markets it operates in (Financial Times 2015a).

Does the retreat of some of the world’s global banks mark the retreat of global banking in general? Not really, as the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) of April 2015 makes clear. Two broad trends are becoming visible in global banking. One, the form of international banking is changing: cross-border flows are being replaced by a focus on lending through local affiliates. Two, the big international banks that are withdrawing are being replaced by others, including those with a more regional focus.

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