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Travel HSBC Celebrates Its 145th Anniversary—A Partnership Strengthened by Time

HSBC Celebrates Its 145th Anniversary—A Partnership Strengthened by Time

HSBC Celebrates Its 145th Anniversary—A Partnership Strengthened by Time
By Tatler Philippines
December 21, 2020
As HSBC celebrates its 145th anniversary this year, we look back on its storied past as a trusted partner in the Philippines’ growth and development as a nation

Strong partnerships are built upon a foundation of trustworthiness, support in rough times and shared hopes for a great future. Such has been the case between the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) and the Filipino people: over the span of nearly a century and half, HSBC has been there as one of the country’s steadfast partners for national growth.


A mere 22 days after the very first HSBC office opened in 1865, the company already saw the value of having a presence in the Philippines which, at the time, was a Spanish colony. An agent was sent to Manila to look after the bank’s interests in the country and, come 1875, HSBC’s first local branch opened in the Parian District, which would eventually be renamed Binondo. Following the Revolution of 1896, the bank played a key role in boosting the economy of the nascent republic. Between 1899 and 1910, it helped stabilise the Philippine monetary system and also was instrumental in the development of national infrastructure by financing the extension of the Manila-Dagupan Railway system in 1906. In the years leading up to the Second World War, HSBC grew in prominence as a leading financial institution trusted by both corporate entities and individuals. Indeed, by the late 1930s, it had risen to become the leading foreign bank in the Philippines and was, overall, one of the top three banking institutions. While the war caused severe financial difficulties for many corporations, HSBC sought to uphold its commitment to its depositors. Most of its staff in the country demonstrated immense courage, sticking to their posts until the last moments to help customers access cash or send money abroad. Upon reopening in 1946, the bank gave its depositors’ funds back in full—something that deepened their loyalty to the brand as it was solid evidence of their respect and concern for their customers in the face of tragedy—and no member of the staff left the premises until all accounts were settled.


For HSBC, the first decade of the new millennium was a period of expansion to other parts of the country, as well as to other aspects of banking relevant to local clients. This was a proactive response to the arrival of other foreign banks into the Philippine financial sector. The opening of the Davao branch in 2006 paved the way for the bank to reach out to potential clients in key growth centres outside the capital, establishing a stronger presence in the country’s southern provinces.


The coming of the tech-savvy 21st century led to numerous changes due to the rapid growth of the internet as a hub for social, commercial, and even financial services. HSBC considered this overall need to digitise the global banking system as an opportunity for further growth and expansion. Since 2017, HSBC has stayed abreast of technological advances in the banking industry, investing in the digitisation of its systems to improve service quality and consumer confidence. It has also grown to become a leader in the field of wealth and personal banking (WPB), offering numerous solutions that enable family businesses to grow and also enable individuals to take prudent action with regard to their finances and investments. But, above all, HSBC continues to honour its commitment to the Filipino people to act as its partner in progress. In these uncertain times, it has done so through its continued support of the country’s medical frontliners in the fight against Covid-19; the provision of learning technologies for impoverished school children, as well as its programmes for functional literacy; and the way it is encouraging consumers to buy locally-produced goods and services to help generate much-needed income and employment. More than just another banking institution, HSBC has proven itself over the passage of time as a company trusted by the nation. Now on its 145th year in the Philippines, HSBC renews its promise to help the country rise to the challenges of progress, enabling it to thrive throughout the next century and beyond.

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