HSBC is could turn its back on customers who earn less than AED20,000 ($5,445a month in a bid to cut costs and boost profits, it has been reported.
The world's fifth largest lender by assets has been hit by the global financial downturn. According to reports, its pre-tax profits in the Middle East have fallen 35 percent to $643m, compared to the same period in 2008.
In a bid to curb expenditure the bank is considering refusing new customers if they earn less than AED20,000 a month, according to a report in the National.
"You want to have fewer clients and serve them right instead of having lots of clients who earn less than AED20,000.
"In other words, we want fewer clients who earn less than AED20,000," Venkatesh Srikantan, the regional head of assets and liabilities at HSBC Middle East, told the paper.
Meanwhile, customers at HSBC's branch in Deira who earn monthly salaries under AED20,000 a month could no longer get full banking services.
They will not be able to use their branch for free, obtain personal loans or credit cards or arrange an overdraft, the paper reported.
"Before you could open an account regardless, even with an income of AED3,000," Angela Anthony Noronha, a HSBC client relationship manager, told the paper.
"Now clients with a monthly salary of around AED18,000 only get a personal account with an ATM card and access to internet banking."