HSBC in talks on closing South Korean retail bank unit: report

SEOUL Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:06pm EST

A man walks past the HSBC logo at the bank's headquarters in Hong Kong September 8, 2011. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

A man walks past the HSBC logo at the bank's headquarters in Hong Kong September 8, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Tyrone Siu

SEOUL (Reuters) - HSBC (HSBA.L) is talking with South Korean regulators about shutting its local retail banking operations after a failed attempt to sell the business, the Donga Ilbo newspaper reported on Thursday.

Korea Development Bank (KDB) said in July it dropped talks to acquire HSBC's South Korean retail banking operations after the banks failed to reach an agreement on employment conditions.

HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, had entered talks over the possible sale of its Korean retail banking operation, which has 11 branches, as part of a widespread asset-sale program.

South Korean regulators have not received an official request concerning HSBC's local retail banking operations, said a banking sector regulatory official who asked for anonymity as he was not authorized to talk directly to the media.

A Seoul-based spokeswoman for HSBC said the bank was reviewing all possible options concerning its South Korean retail banking operations.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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