HSBC selling upstate branches: the "world's local bank" may no longer be our local bank

hsbc.jpgHSBC announced this morning that it plans to sell 195 of its branches to First Niagara Bank, including 183 branches in upstate New York, to cut back on costs and shift its focus to emerging markets like Brazil and Mexico. [AP] [HSBC]

Update: The list of local branches that are being sold is after the jump (thanks, Bill). It appears that all of HSBC's locations in the core Capital Region are included -- that would mean no more HSBC retail banking here (the company says it will continue its corporate banking operations upstate). First Niagara says it will be consolidating redundant branches after the takeover. [TU]

First Niagara is a Buffalo-based bank, and some may be happier with the idea of supporting a bank based in the state, rather than one based in London. Other bank customers might lament losing the worldwide reach of HSBC, which allowed them to do their banking or use ATMs while in other parts of the country or world.

What's funny is that this is first time we can recall an international conglomerate bank being replaced by a closer-to-home name. HSBC itself first entered the Capital Region in the early 2000s when it bought up Marine Midland bank branches. The HSBC retail brand entered the Capital Region when the parent company changed the name of Marine Midland branches in the late 1990s (HSBC had bought Marine Midland in the 80s). [Daily Gazette archive]

The switch might be a good opportunity to become a banking free agent. What's your bank -- would you recommend it to free agents? And what do you look for in a bank?

Via a list posted on HSBC's website

Albany County

30 S Pearl St - Albany
899 Western Ave - Albany
95 Wolf Rd - Colonie
100 Mohawk Street - Cohoes
492 Troy-Schenectady Rd - Latham

Rensselaer County

33 3rd St - Troy
782 Hoosick Rd - Troy
600 Second Ave - Troy

Saratoga County

20 Park Ave - Clifton Park
3025 Route 50 - Wilton

Schenectady County

1963 Altamont Avenue - Schenectady


this is going to sound like a commercial, but i just switched checking accts from hsbc to charles schwab. with the high yeild checking they reimburse ALL atm fees (!!!!!!) and you can depoist checks (up to 1k) via iphone/android. also, free checking, no fees, visa check card, etc.

they have lovely concierges that help you set up the acct and get everything working and answer all questions. HIGHLY HIGHLY recommended.

From the email HSBC sent out it says "I am writing to you today to let you know that HSBC Bank USA N.A. has reached an agreement to sell all retail branches in Upstate New York along with 4 branches in Westchester County and 2 branches in Putnam County New York, and 6 branches in Connecticut to First Niagara Bank, N.A. (First Niagara) subject to regulatory approval. " So I am assuming all Capital Region branches are being closed.

Here are the following branches being closed:

Not sure what I am going to do. I have checking/savings and mortgage all through HSBC and with trips out of country it has been really convenient. :(

I can't believe people still bank at banks. If you're not at a credit union you're probably paying more than you should and earning less. I like Capital Communications FCU, myself.

Sure, HSBC may be selling the branches, but accounts? I think you're mortgage has good chance of staying with HSBC (if it hasn't been packaged and sold off already)

It will be interesting to see what they do if two branches are close to one another. For example, on Wolf Road I think the HSBC and the First Niagara and neighbors. HSBC has the better location being right on the corner of Sand Creek.

And I agree that it is funny to see a regional take over the retail arm of an international bank.

Serious props for Cap Com. My four year old is on a first name basis with Shavala at New Karner Road.

Also, kids can earn up to $70/year just by bringing in their report cards (!!!) and either doing a book report or picture based on a book through their reading program.

Oh, my mortgage was handed off a month after I got it. But I still pay through HSBC (Fannie May has it technically). It was just a nice one-stop shop.

As for "paying more than you should"... I don't pay anything and am not required to keep a minimum balance in my accounts. Switching is going to be a pain to move money around just to make sure this account has x amount to cover y requirement.

Also, it made banking in Canada\Caribbean\Asia an easier experience. If I can find a credit union comparable, I'll switch to one. In the mean time, the hunt begins.

I'm with N: go with a credit union. After some bad experiences in the '80s when many local banks were bought out by the big conglomerates, I switched to SEFCU during my brief stint as a state worker and have never looked back!

i've been using an extremely local bank, Pioneer Savings Bank, hq in Troy, for years and been very happy with them.

Move your money to SEFCU. Case closed.

I wonder if First Niagara is going to move into the Cohoes HSBC. You know, the one across the street from a First Niagara?

Mine's SEFCU, and couldn't be happier. I've been a credit union user most of my life, and my brief stints with regular banks both local and global have only served to drive me back to CU's.

This is bittersweet for me - I've been an HSBC customer for over a decade now, and loathed them for nearly as long. But I stayed because it was convenient, and now that they've cut the cord for me I get to deal with the hassle of finding a new (and better!) bank.

While I absolutely love the idea of using a local bank/credit union/whatever, it simply is not a practical option for me. I need to be able to access my bank from outside of the capital region, so I'm wondering what other national/international banks are around and how people like them. For the record, I'm also semi-skeptical of online only banks - again, I love the idea, but what happens when I have a paper check/cash in hand that I need to cash/deposit? (@Andrew - possibly stupid question, but how do you deposit a check via smartphone?)

I too will start looking. The nice part of HSBC was their international status. I do a lot of traveling all over the world, and there's nothing more frustrating than getting somewhere only to find your ATM card doesn't work, and no amount of trans-Atlantic sobbing will change that. My SO is with SEFCU, and when were in Russia two years ago, she had no cash - yeah, you could charge stuff, but to have hard currency (in a place that prefers it) is essential, so SEFCU won't be my bank, despite the great love most folks express for it. Another for Andrew - how's the international service with Chuck?? PS IR - I think you take a picture of the check and send it to them!

I'd also like to hear some reviews of other banks that have branches nationally/internationally. That's what I used HSBC for mostly. I have a local account, but when traveling, either across the country or to Europe, having the HSBC account was extremely helpful.

@IR : I don't know about Charles Schwab but Chase has an app that lets you enter photos of the front and back of a paper check you've endorsed and it scans the photos for information. You then hold onto the now canceled check for your records. Since their modern ATMs scan checks as you deposit them, I don't think the app is much different from their point of view. There is a limit on how much you can deposit, both per check and per day. It's a little finicky but still convenient as there's no Chase banks up this way these days.

I'm with SEFCU and very satisfied.

My least favorite- Key Bank. I never felt they cared about anything but the required minimum balance in my checking account.

I have been with HSBC since it WAS Marine Midland (I'm from downstate originally) and have had the same checking and savings accounts since the beginning of time. I'm debating between Trustco and SEFCU, I guess. This is a total bummer!!!!

I've been with First National Bank of Scotia for about 20 years - They've been great, no issues - In fact, I liked them even BEFORE Ryan Gosling started hanging around the bank HA!
But now I'm really interested in finding our more about Charles Schwab - Mint keeps 'reminding' me I can get a better return from them - but @ Andrew #1, how do you deposit checks over 1k ?
Maybe I'll check them out.

What happens to thoes in trouble and have been working with HSBC every 6 months on mortgage hardship, once First Niagara takes over. HSBC is telling us to enter into another agreement with them that will be up in March of 2012 and they will make us a better deal with a lower amount each month. However thats what we have been doing with them for about 2 years through Empire Justice that HSBC refered us to. But at the end of every 6 months they never finalize the agreement as we are told. I feel like we are just being run around, as we go further and further in debt. First Niagara will be taking over the first part of 2012 and HSBC wants us to enter int this agreement that will end in early are we just being railroaded again and at the end be totally under water? They say that banks dont want out house, but yet they have made it impossible to make payments. Our house has not had any work done to it because every dime has been put toward the mortgage. My husband is on disibuilty and i am woeking for 12 dollars an hour. Since being laided off from Eastman Kodak we have fallen way below poverty level. Had our electrict and water shut off to make our payments. I dont know who to trust or believe anymore. We need help, Please

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