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Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

Old Nov 22nd 2013, 2:58 pm
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Default Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

Hello. I'm awaiting confirmation of an internal company transfer out to California and have a question around banking.

I don't currently have any banking relationship with HSBC. I know they are generally pointed to for international banking, but I'm wondering whether they're actually a better option than a more local bank in the US. Presumably they have to pay for all these international services, so does that mean rates are less favourable or fees associated?

I will have UK financial stuff ongoing (mortgage, rent), but will probably be able to keep those affairs completely separate from my US affairs, ie. I don't expect to need to use any US-earned income for any UK stuff, if that makes sense. So I'd imagine I could simply keep a UK account open and open a totally separate US one to cover my life over there.

I'm just trying to weigh up the pros and cons of using an international banking service versus keeping things separated. Any advice would be very welcome.

Thanks
Simon
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Old Nov 22nd 2013, 3:51 pm
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Default Re: Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

Outside of NY state HSBC branches are like hens teeth. HSBC doesn't have a great reputation for customer service and is either expensive or requires an insane minimum balance for international banking.

Honestly, don't bother with HSBC, go local. Of the larger banks, Wells Fargo seems to have the best reputation, JPM Chase is also OK, Bank of America's reputation isn't great. Don't bother with Citibank, they're a mess, and don't have many branches.
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Old Nov 22nd 2013, 4:17 pm
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Default Re: Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

Originally Posted by dawnrazor View Post
Hello. I'm awaiting confirmation of an internal company transfer out to California and have a question around banking.

I don't currently have any banking relationship with HSBC. I know they are generally pointed to for international banking, but I'm wondering whether they're actually a better option than a more local bank in the US. Presumably they have to pay for all these international services, so does that mean rates are less favourable or fees associated?

I will have UK financial stuff ongoing (mortgage, rent), but will probably be able to keep those affairs completely separate from my US affairs, ie. I don't expect to need to use any US-earned income for any UK stuff, if that makes sense. So I'd imagine I could simply keep a UK account open and open a totally separate US one to cover my life over there.

I'm just trying to weigh up the pros and cons of using an international banking service versus keeping things separated. Any advice would be very welcome.

Thanks
Simon
We use HSBC and have had a great service. Its really easy to transfer money to/from the UK. They don't have many branches but as I do all my banking online it has not been a problem.
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Old Nov 22nd 2013, 4:31 pm
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Default Re: Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

If you want a big branch network, then its Wells Fargo, Chase & BofA.

If you want low loan APRs, low fees and a friendly service then find a good local credit union.
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Old Nov 22nd 2013, 5:09 pm
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Default Re: Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

Originally Posted by cranston View Post
If you want a big branch network, then its Wells Fargo, Chase & BofA.

If you want low loan APRs, low fees and a friendly service then find a good local credit union.
Yes, for day to day banking needs HSBC represents the worst of both worlds. Once in a blue moon when I need to make an international transfer then xe is as easy as it needs to be.
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Old Nov 22nd 2013, 5:25 pm
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Default Re: Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

Go local, or what ever large bank is convenient in the area.

Keep UK bank account.

Use currency exchange service to transfer money.
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Old Nov 22nd 2013, 5:28 pm
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Default Re: Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Honestly, don't bother with HSBC, go local. Of the larger banks, Wells Fargo seems to have the best reputation, JPM Chase is also OK, Bank of America's reputation isn't great. Don't bother with Citibank, they're a mess, and don't have many branches.
Bank reputations are weird, for every person saying one is good there is someone saying the same bank is rubbish. Though hatred of Citi and BoA seems universal. I had a terrible time with Wells Fargo for example. I now bank with US Bank and quite like them.
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Old Nov 22nd 2013, 5:31 pm
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Default Re: Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

Originally Posted by sir_eccles View Post
Bank reputations are weird, for every person saying one is good there is someone saying the same bank is rubbish. Though hatred of Citi and BoA seems universal. I had a terrible time with Wells Fargo for example. I now bank with US Bank and quite like them.
I think consistency is the problem. When things go wrong involving money it gets peoples' backs up quickly, and I think all the banks have the capacity to offer great service and also be incredibly shite when processes (or people) break down. Like most companies, really.
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Old Nov 22nd 2013, 5:35 pm
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Default Re: Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
I think consistency is the problem. When things go wrong involving money it gets peoples' backs up quickly, and I think all the banks have the capacity to offer great service and also be incredibly shite when processes (or people) break down. Like most companies, really.
True, we're more likely to remember the screw ups.
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Old Nov 22nd 2013, 5:37 pm
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Default Re: Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

Originally Posted by sir_eccles View Post
True, we're more likely to remember the screw ups.
And much less forgiving when it comes to banks and our hard-earned money.
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Old Nov 22nd 2013, 5:38 pm
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Default Re: Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

Thanks very much for the comments

I'll be contributing more on the site when things move from 'looking promising' to 'done deal'. Trying to remain calm for now!

Enjoy your weekends
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Old Nov 22nd 2013, 6:10 pm
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Default Re: Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

I use HSBC in the UK and USA, as stated branches over here are few and far between.
I use them for money transfers, XE is a similar rate but takes a couple of days whereas HSBC takes minutes.
We also use Wells Fargo and BB&T over here.
We find HSBC very good when we travel overseas

Last edited by ottotheboar; Nov 22nd 2013 at 6:12 pm.
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Old Nov 22nd 2013, 9:23 pm
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Default Re: Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

It's easy enough to transfer money back and forth, whether you have a common bank in the UK/US or not. I use xoom.com and it's moved in a couple of hours.

I would go for a bank with locations convenient to you, and even if that's not a credit union, I would open a savings account with your local CU anyway, just to start building a relationship with them. They tend to be more flexible on lending restrictions and say 'yes' when the bank says no! So it's worth getting some kind of track record with them just in case they are ever needed as a backup.
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Old Nov 22nd 2013, 10:49 pm
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Default Re: Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

We were with HSBC in the UK for 20 years. It was a nightmare trying to set up a US account with them. Walked into a US bank and had an account within 15 mins.
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Old Nov 23rd 2013, 1:55 am
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Default Re: Banking question: HSBC or 'local'?

I used the HSBC international service when I moved and have to say that the US operation could learn a lot from it's UK cousin. However, where it really has an advantage was that I was able to have a credit card with a decent credit limit from day one in the US (granted I didn't have an AMEX in the UK).

Jonathan
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