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HSBC to close half of India branches in digital banking push

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HSBC Holdings Plc plans to shut almost half its branches in India and rely more on digital banking to expand its consumer business in the South Asian nation.

[MUMBAI] HSBC Holdings Plc plans to shut almost half its branches in India and rely more on digital banking to expand its consumer business in the South Asian nation.

The London-based bank will cut 24 of its 50 branches as it seeks "the right mix of digital versus physical branch distribution," according to an e-mailed statement on Thursday. The outlets to be closed account for less than 10 per cent of HSBC's retail customer base in India, the lender said in the statement.

Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver is paring back HSBC's sprawling global network and shutting money-losing businesses to improve earnings hurt by compliance costs. Since 2011, the bank has slashed more than 87,000 positions, exited at least 80 businesses and reduced its footprint to about 71 countries and territories from 88.

HSBC said it remains committed to India, where it is also shutting its global private banking operations. The country was the fourth-biggest contributor to group earnings before tax in 2015.

BLOOMBERG