Thu, 01 Jun 2006

HSBC expands into personal loan market

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), already well known in Indonesia as a credit card issuer, is keen to further tap Indonesia's personal loan market as shown by its latest product -- a collateral-free loan scheme for individual borrowers.

Called "Pinjaman HSBC," the loan scheme will live up to its "hassle-free" motto, providing quick and easy approvals for personal loan applications of up to Rp 20 million (some US$2,150), says HSBC Indonesia head of personal financial services, Ravi Sreedharan.

"Interested customers can simply come to one of our outlets and apply for a loan, even if they do not have an account with us as yet, by simply showing their salary slips or bill payment receipts as proof of their financial capacity," he said.

"They can even send a text message by mobile phone to 9333 to apply for a loan."

Customers will also benefit from being involved in "responsible borrowing" under the scheme, Sreedharan further explained, acquiring a proven credit track record along the way, as HSBC will act as a virtual personal financial advisor for borrowers.

"We will discuss with our customers their exact income and expenditure so as to determine which loan scheme suit them best," he explained.

HSBC expects to be able to tap into a market of some 50 million potential customers with its new personal loan product.

It opened its first two "Pinjaman HSBC" outlets in Cipulir, South Jakarta, and Jatinegara, East Jakarta, citing the fact that these two areas demonstrated high motorcycle ownership potential, Shreedaran said.

HSBC hopes to open 135 outlets in the next three years, in line with its plan to open 50 new branch offices, and will work together with the Post Office to achieve this goal.

"We already have 10 customers from our existing two outlets, and we will be opening three new outlets in Bogor, Depok and Tangerang next month," Sreedharan said.

Prior to "Pinjaman HSBC", the Hong Kong-based lender introduced a collateral-free loan scheme for small and medium enterprises in April last year.

HSBC is a major player in Indonesia's personal banking market, being the second largest credit card issuer here with some 800,000 cardholders.

Its latest foray into the country's personal banking scene through "Pinjaman HSBC" may face tough competition, with rivals Citigroup, ABN Amro, Standard Chartered Bank, Bank Mandiri and others all having launched their own collateral-free consumer and business loan schemes in recent years.