The HSBC (Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation) headquarters are actually in London, but I feel like they should be based in their Queens Road local headquarters (above) because their branches literally blanket Hong Kong. Local lore has is that it was constructed with an external steel skeleton in case things went south when China took back over in 1997 and they needed to disassemble the building and put it back together in a more secure locale. It is really quite a building to behold… here it is from the inside. (Image by Chikitosam)
The Mr. works three doors down from this building so we both go by it all the time and there are almost always people protesting on weekends… but maybe they will soon stop. (Reuters.)
In addition to showing the protest banners, this photo shows you how the botton of the building is totally open to thorough traffic and that you take escalators up to the first floor of the bank. It’s pretty crazy in person. A lot of people I’ve talked to didn’t really know what the locals have been protesting, but apparently private banking in Hong Kong is completely nuts and HSBC and several other banks sold a lot of Lehman mini-bonds to lower-middle class folks who put their whole life savings in them. When the bank folded, they were left with nothing… but it looks like this new settlement would give them almost all of their money bank.
“Sixteen Hong Kong banks have agreed on a joint proposal that could see investors in Lehman Brothers minibonds recover most of their original investments. As a final settlement, the banks yesterday offered to pay back up to 96.5 per cent of the defunct investments – up from 60 per cent in 2009.” –South China Morning Post
It would be wonderful if this iconic building could go back to being just a crazy building with an epic light show that is also a haven for maids on Sundays. I will leave for another post a rant on how insanely uptight HSBC’s security measures are and how comparatively smoothly American banking now seems to run..