HSBC: How to Make Sure Your Customers Never Come Back!

You start investment accounts up with banks with the intention of actually improving your net worth.  For various reasons, including some which cost me money because of banking inconsistencies, I decided to end my 12 year long relationship with HSBC.

At this point, the bank has two options:

  1. Treat your departing customer with dignity and respect, in the hope that some day you can lure them back to being a very profitable customer.
  2. Treat the customer like garbage, taking advantage of hidden cancellation fees to make a quick buck off your departing customer.

HSBC has decided on the latter option.  And, as is my priviledge, I am going to badmouth their bank to anyone who will listen, and advise my friends to choose other banks.

I don’t know if another bank would have treated me any differently -I have not cancelled trading accounts with other banks-, but it really doesn’t matter since the relationship that is being irrevocably destroyed is with HSBC, not TD or CIBC or ING or RBC, all banks I have dealt with for years without similar experiences.

Here is the detail of their parting shot, perhaps it will serve as a warning for others considering opening up trading accounts with HSBC, or other similar-minded banks:

  • Cancellation of a USD and CDN trading account: $125
  • Cancellation of a CDN self-directed trading account: $125 (do they really need to charge me twice?!)
  • $50 admin fee for the coming year on my self-directed RRSP account (what??)
  • TOTAL: $300 for closing my accounts!!

Before anyone starts feeling sorry for HSBC… how are these guys going to possibly make money?!  I can assure you that they have made, at $29 or more a trade, THOUSANDS of dollars off my trading activity!

HSBC banking systems are hopelessly separate, and dealing with HSBC InvestDirect and HSBC bank is just as bad, or worse, than dealing with separate companies to do business!  Their Canadian online banking system and features lag behind all of the other Canadian banks.  For example, e-mail money transfer, forget about it!  This is really inexcusable for a bank that has so few branches!!

Anyway, save yourself some time and frustration, and choose another bank!  Their actions, as I end my business with them, ensure that I am never going to give them a second chance!


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