ECONOMY

HSBC’s start-up for students

HSBC Bank, Europe’s largest in capitalization terms, yesterday unveiled «U Start!», a program specially designed to cater to the banking needs of up to 45,000 Greeks studying in UK universities. U Start! offers a savings account with a card acceptable at automatic teller machines anywhere in the world, and transactions at about 3,000 HSBC ATMs in the UK. It also provides a Visa credit card, free travel insurance and discounted medical insurance, plus a phone-home service for calls from the UK in case of emergency – which offers immediate cash dispensation and money orders, card replacement in case of loss or theft, special rates for money orders and check issuing and privileged rates to students after their graduation at HSBC Greece having used U Start! Bernard Payne, HSBC’s head of retail banking in Greece, presented the facility. He said the bank has plans for at least three new Greek branches, to be added to the existing 22 within 2005, and more to come in the next few years. The bank’s turnover growth is estimated to reach 60 percent this year from 48 percent in 2004 and 36 percent in 2003. But Payne said growth is a relative term, measured not only by the number of branches but also by improving services and attracting more customers.