HSBC has declined to comment on “speculative” reports that it is considering winding down its Malta operations as part of its COVID-19 restructuring. 

On Tuesday the Financial Times reported that the bank’s global executives are revisiting a long list of small, non-strategic countries, including Malta, to see if they should be sold or shuttered. 

In February, Europe’s largest lender had announced it would slash 35,000 jobs by radically shrinking its US and European businesses and investment bank. 

However, according to the FT, an internal HSBC report details an even more vigorous downsizing.  

In a company announcement published on the Malta Stock Exchange on Tuesday afternoon, HSBC Bank Malta plc said it had no information on the matter.

“As has been the case in the past, the bank’s media policy is not to comment on speculative stories,” the announcement reads.  

According to the FT, previous efforts to sell had been hampered by a lack of buyers acceptable to local regulators.

A senior source at the Malta Financial Services Authority said that no prospective buyers for HSBC’s Malta operation had come forward for vetting in recent months.

In October, HSBC announced the closure down eight branches across Malta.

At the time, HSBC Malta chief executive Andrew Beane had said the bank was not starting to wind its operations down but was simply responding to the way customers were banking. 

The following month, it announced it would shed 180 jobs as part of a voluntary redundancy scheme

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