HSBC compliance chief to step down after inquiry

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The CEO of the U.S. division of HSBC also apologized for weak oversight at the bank.

Irene Dorner, president and CEO of HSBC Bank USA, said, “We deeply regret and apologize” for the lapses by HSBC. Its U.S. division is among the top 10 banks operating in the United States. It has assets of roughly $210 billion in its U.S. operations.

The changes the bank made “will be embedded and sustained going forward,” Ms. Dorner said. “We’re burning the bridges to make sure no one can get back to the way it was before.”

Stuart Levey, a former high-ranking Treasury Department official who joined HSBC in January as chief legal officer, said the bank in April put in new, stricter oversight standards that apply to all its affiliates.

Mr. Levin said HSBC’s new policies “are all good steps.” But he said while apologies are welcome, “Accountability is essential as a deterrent and that accountability has been missing.”

He cited instances in past years in which HSBC — after being sanctioned by regulators — had promised to fix deficiencies but didn’t carry through.

Mr. Levin said HSBC needs to identify which of its affiliates pose a high risk of problems and put them under close monitoring. The bank should consider closing the account of its Mexican affiliate, he said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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