John Rendall confident of HSBC expanding Scots market share

HSBC's Scotland chief executive yesterday insisted the bank is continuing to make inroads into the Scottish market despite customers remaining loyal to their lender through the financial crisis.

John Rendall said the banking crisis did not appear to have made businesses much more likely to change banks, with only 5 per cent a year switching.

"We are winning the kind of customers we set out to win, and keeping them," he said. "But we have learned that the end to end process can be longer than we might have thought."

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Orkney-born Rendall was appointed as HSBC's Scotland boss in June 2009, tasked with taking advantage of the turmoil among competitors to grow the bank's relatively small presence north of the Border.

He was speaking to The Scotsman as HSBC prepares to publish results on 28 February and said the bank had made inroads, especially with larger businesses. HSBC had been using its strong international presence to help exporting businesses and those looking to work abroad, he said.

But the process of changing banks can be time-consuming for a business with complex needs, taking up to a year.

Rendall said banking was a "long-term relationship" and it was natural that customers were taking their time to "check out" a possible new bank, but he hoped that any business gained would be "for many years to come".

He said HSBC had been building up its team in Scotland by developing existing staff, bringing experienced HSBC employees to Scotland, and increased recruitment.

He said: "Clearly our market share in Scotland is substantially lower than elsewhere in the UK, although possibly not in corporate banking where we have made the most progress recently.

"Whatever our market share is, the aim is to make it bigger."

Yesterday HSBC announced it was lending Elgin-based Springfield Properties an "eight-figure sum" to acquire land.