HSBC may quit US mortgage business

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 March, 2007, 12:00am


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Updated at 8.02pm:
HSBC Holdings, haunted by its bad-debt riddled United States sub-prime mortgage business, said it could tackle the problem by selling the American property loan portfolio.

The bank?s chief executive Michael Geoghegan on Tuesday said the bank could sell the portfolio to other mortgage providers or sell it to HSBC?s investment bank, which would package the portfolio and pass it on to the market.

The mortgage services business portfolio is currently valued at US$49 billion (HK$382 billion).

However, he said the bank had to take several factors into consideration when selling the assets, such as pricing.

?We are in no hurry to sell anything as the market price at the current time doesn?t reflect the underlying value of the asset,? he said.

The world?s fourth-largest bank in market value on Monday posted a net profit growth of just 4.7 per cent to US$15.79 billion for last year, due to surge of bad debt provisions, mainly brought by its sub-prime mortgage business in the US.

Mr Geoghegan has said the bank had already acted to curtail the problem through such steps as repackaging assets for disposal but ?the workout will probably take two to three years?.