HSBC Bank USA’s top executive in Buffalo said Wednesday that the bank’s decision to move out of its namesake tower will not cost jobs and is not the start of an eventual withdrawal from the region.
Instead, said Kevin Quinn, the bank’s moves show HSBC wants to stay downtown, just in a different and more cost-effective location.
“We view it as a positive statement of HSBC’s commitment to Western New York,” said Quinn, senior vice president and head of upstate corporate banking.
He dismissed fears that have spread as the bank has changed its focus globally and nationally while downsizing its regional operations.
“The fact that HSBC has made this announcement and made a commitment to the area is a very, very strong message from a global player that I consider to be an incredible resource,” he said.
HSBC confirmed Wednesday it will pull all operations and employees out of One HSBC Center by the end of its lease next October, ending a 40-year relationship with the city’s tallest structure. It will consolidate all 3,000 area employees into the HSBC Atrium it owns a block away and a sprawling facility it rents in Depew.
No jobs will be lost in what is essentially a real estate move, the bank said, and HSBC will continue as both a major employer and a corporate citizen. In fact, officials noted, the Buffalo area is the bank’s second-largest employment hub in the country.
“Our roots are long and deep here, being the location of HSBC’s first U.S. acquisition,” Quinn said. “We’ve had a large employment base here for many, many years.”
He said HSBC has “great reason” to stay in Buffalo, citing overhead and real estate costs that are “significantly less than you would find in any other city around the country.” And it already has 3,000 workers “that are currently familiar with our operations [and] trained with our systems and products.”
“This is an organization that could pick up and relocate anywhere. But we’ve chosen to stay here because of the economics that Buffalo offers,” he said.
Additionally, “we will still continue to be a very solid and stable corporate neighbor, and very active in the community from a philanthropic standpoint,” he said, citing “a few fairly substantial contributions” recently to local organizations.