HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's largest bank, expects to turn its Indian consumer-banking business profitable within 12 months after at least five years of losses, Naina Lal Kidwai, country head for India, said in an interview with CNBC-TV18.
Kidwai, one of the corporate world's Indian-born acquisitions, said the bank (formerly known as the Hongkong & Shanghai Bank) will leverage its balance sheet to help it grow in a deal-making market that is both fast-growing and fiercely competitive.
''The losses you see are from when we scaled back'' on credit card and unsecured lending, Kidwai said in an interview. HSBC, based in London, is booking smaller write downs this year, she said.
HSBC is trying to catch up with its smaller UK rival Standard Chartered Bank Plc, which earned almost twice as much in India in the first half.
Lower bad-debt costs allowed HSBC to step up lending this year in India, home to Asia's fastest-growing major economy after China, as the global financial crisis receded, Kidwai said.
''We weren't lending in a huge way because we were managing liquidity across the group,'' Kidwai, 53, said in Mumbai. ''This year we are back to lending and the impairments are down.''