The news that we have been hearing over the grapevine for these past few months has finally been confirmed.
HSBC Brunei, one of the oldest banks in Brunei (if not THE oldest) is in their words, “winding down operations“.
It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in my mum’s Nissan Bluebird, looking at her from the window while she withdraws money from the ETC (what we used to call an ATM) of HSBC’s branch overlooking the Tutong River.
When I was in Form 2, my secondary school participated in a national level English quiz organised by CFBT called Wordplay. We won the first prize (first time a school outside of Brunei Muara district to win) and one of my prizes was a savings account in HSBC, with $300 in it. That was my first bank account.
HSBC was an institution which was very involved in the community, with a really big presence in the capital. This winding down I expect to affect our economy, with people, skilled people, being laid off and the withdrawal of an international bank from the business scene.
On one hand I can’t believe AMBD lets this happen, but on the other hand, we can’t pretend we didn’t see this coming. HSBC globally has been plagued with wave after wave of bad news, and it is just a matter of time before it hits our shores, especially in this economic climate.
For me personally, we can see this winding down as a loss, but it is also an opportunity. How do we grab hold of this new oyster in front of us? Looking forward to see the local bank wars as they fight to get a bigger piece of the pie.
Perhaps it will never be as exciting as it was before but as a nation we are unique and I’m looking forward to see how it goes.
For now, I’m just wondering when I’m going to hear about my HSBC account.