HSBC, one of Malaysia’s first banks, was formed in Hong Kong and Shanghai in 1865 to help finance trade as commerce between Europe and Asia rose.
The bank arrived in a thriving Penang in the 1800s, when the strategically located port facilities and its growing market needed systematic money management. During this period, “strongroom” – rooms with a huge box to keep money – evolved into full-blown banks by 1884, thanks to HSBC.
HSBC quickly expanded, opening new branches all over the country in the early 1900s, backed by the rubber and tin boom in the 1920s and 30s. By the time Malaysia achieved Independence in 1957, there were HSBC Banks in Malacca, Perak, Kuala Lumpur, Johore, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak.
In 1959, HSBC bought over Mercantile Bank, which had been in the country for 100 years by that point. This acquisition indirectly made HSBC the oldest bank in Malaysia.
HSBC was also the first bank in the country to bring in ATMs in 1980s. By 1994, HSBC was localised to Hong Kong Bank Malaysia, making it the first foreign-owned financial institution to be localised.
After a global rebranding exercise in 1999, Hongkong Bank Malaysia Berhad became known as HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad as we know today. It was also the first locally incorporated foreign bank to be awarded an Islamic banking subsidiary license in Malaysia.
Recently, HSBC signed a sale-and-purchase agreement with TRX City for the development of its new HQ in TRX, making it the first foreign bank to join the financial district. The bank said it will invest up to US$250 million for the future HSBC Malaysia Headquarters.
“HSBC has enjoyed more than 130 years of remarkable business success in Malaysia. Malaysia is a priority market for the HSBC Group globally and this investment further cements our growth plans in Malaysia.
The collaboration between HSBC and TRX demonstrates our commitment to our employees, the community and our business in Malaysia. Significantly, it also reinforces the important role Malaysia plays in HSBC’s ASEAN strategy.” said Mukhtar Hussain, CEO of HSBC Malaysia.