HSBC is looking at opening branches in strategic locations in the North and East as business is about to rise exponentially with the restoration of peace in those areas, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Sri Lanka and Maldives Nick A Nicolaou said. A new HSBC branch will be set up in Jaffna, he said, adding that a lot of money comes in from expatriate Sri Lankan Tamils.
Foreign remittances during the first half of 2009 were US$ 1.6 billion up from US$ 1.5 billion from the same period last year. Mr. Nicolaou said that HSBC is operating 15 branches in the island and the Jaffna branch will be their 16th and the second one outside Colombo (after Kandy).
He said that HSBC would be "very interested" in financing infrastructure projects in any rebuilding of the war-ravaged regions. He believes that necessary reconstruction finance will come from multilateral agencies such as the World Bank, the IMF and the Asian Development Bank, while the Sri Lankan Diaspora, specially the Tamil Diaspora, in countries like Canada, the UK, Norway and Australia would also support these activities.