"Some HSBC customers have been prevented from withdrawing large amounts of cash because they could not provide evidence of why they wanted it, the BBC has learnt.
Listeners have told Radio 4's Money Box they were stopped from withdrawing amounts ranging from £5,000 to £10,000.
HSBC admitted it has not informed customers of the change in policy, which was implemented in November.
...HSBC has said that following customer feedback, it was changing its policy: "We ask our customers about the purpose of large cash withdrawals when they are unusual and out of keeping with the normal running of their account. Since last November, in some instances we may have also asked these customers to show us evidence of what the cash is required for."
"...following feedback, we are immediately updating guidance to our customer facing staff to reiterate that it is not mandatory for customers to provide documentary evidence for large cash withdrawals, and on its own, failure to show evidence is not a reason to refuse a withdrawal."
"HSBC faces £70bn capital hole, warn Hong Kong analysts
Research firm Forensic Asia calculates that HSBC has overstated the value of the assets on its balance sheet by more than £50bn
HSBC could have overstated its assets by more than £50bn and ultimately need a capital injection of close to £70bn before the end of this decade, according to an incendiary report published by a Hong Kong-based research firm .
Forensic Asia on Tuesday began its coverage of Britain’s largest banking group..., warning the lender had between $63.6bn (£38.7bn) and $92.3bn of “questionable assets” on its balance sheet, ranging from loan loss reserves and accrued interest to deferred tax assets, defined benefit pension schemes and opaque Level 3 assets.
The broker’s note is written by two of its senior analysts, Thomas Monaco and Andrew Haskins .
Mr Monaco is a former senior bank examiner at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and previously worked as a fund manager at FrontPoint Partners, the hedge fund that spotted the US subprime bubble. As well as this, he has also spent a decade as a banks analyst at various leading investment banks.
Mr Haskins previously worked at HSBC for 15 years, mainly as a telecoms analyst, and also co-ran Japanese bank Mitsubishi UFJ’s Hong Kong-based research team.
In the report, the analysts apply what they describe as a “moderate stress test” to the balance sheets of HSBC’s major subsidiaries. From this analysis they conclude that even using a low-end estimate, the assets of the bank’s Hong Kong division, for instance, are overstated by about $15bn, while those of its UK subsidiary could be overvalued by $17bn.
...“In our view, HSBC has not made the necessary adjustments, during the quantitative easing reprieve. Rather, it has allowed legacy problems to linger as new ones in emerging markets gather pace. The result has been extreme earnings overstatement, causing HSBC to become one of the largest practitioners of capital forebearance globally. This charade appears to be ending, given how few earnings levers remain...,” wrote Forensic Asia.
The broker adds: “While having stated capital ratios well above peer averages is all well and good, HSBC’s stated capital ratios would appear to be nothing more than a mirage if our analysis is correct.”
...The report adds the workings do not include probable litigation costs linked to various claims on the bank, which they see coming in at no less than $10bn.
HSBC, Britain’s biggest bank by market capitalization and total assets, is also reckoned to be the UK’s best capitalised major lender...
HSBC declined to comment."