HSBC to charge bank clients for some European currency accounts

HSBC Holdings will charge banking customers to hold some European currencies given the region's low interest-rate environment. -- PHOTO: AFP
HSBC Holdings will charge banking customers to hold some European currencies given the region's low interest-rate environment. -- PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (Bloomberg) - HSBC Holdings will charge other banks customers to hold some of their European currencies given the region's low interest-rate environment.

Europe's biggest bank will impose negative interest rates on the euro, Swiss franc, Danish krone and Swedish krona accounts of banking institutions, Gareth Hewett, a Hong Kong-based spokesman, said in an e-mail. The move will affect customers in Germany, Hong Kong and the U.K.

Retail and corporate customers aren't affected and HSBC has no plans to charge negative interest rates on their accounts, Hewett said.

Monetary authorities in Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden have set negative benchmark rates and the European Central Bank imposed negative deposit rates to revive their economies. Credit Suisse is among Swiss banks that began charging customers to hold francs this year after the country's central bank decided to collect interest on the lenders' deposits.

HSBC will charge its banking customers' futures settlement accounts with a negative interest rate on their balances from June 1, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Tuesday. Their current and deposit accounts will be charged from Aug. 1, the newspaper said. Interest rates will be based on London deposit rates, it said.