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Report: HSBC seeks to unload upstate NY branches

A trade publication reports that British banking group HSBC aims to sell about 175 of its upstate New York bank branches by next month.

American Banker, citing unidentified sources, reports that bids for the branches were due earlier this week and the buyer would be disclosed in about six weeks.

Declining to comment on what it calls “rumor or speculation,” HSBC says in a statement it is reviewing markets in which it operates retail branches to “determine the optimal size and position of our branch network.”

Niall Booker, its North America CEO, told investors in May the bank plans to focus its U.S. branches in metro areas such as New York, Boston, San Francisco and San Diego. Since 2003, it has closed 76 branches that don’t fit into its metropolitan strategy.