Last week, a number of HSBC’s small-business customers received notice that the bank will no longer be doing business with them.
A spokesperson for the U.K. lender says the decision came about through strategic assessments which began in May 2011. The review of small- and medium-sized businesses is still under process, but The Wall Street Journal reports businesses that received letters from the bank were notified that their accounts will be closed by November 8.
The bank’s spokesperson declined to comment on the number of businesses that received letters from HSBC, or what types of businesses received letters.
The bank’s official statement, however, suggests a shift away from mom-and-pop businesses. Instead, it appears that HSBC intends to focus more on small- and medium-sized businesses that conduct international business.
In this vein, the spokesperson drew attention to an announcement made by the bank earlier this summer launching a $1-billion, 18-month loan program specifically for small- and medium-sized businesses based in the U.S. that are looking to export or expand internationally.