(Photo by Flickr user Alex Vickery)
HSBC Bank USA will close its New Castle County location and relocate more than 400 employees to other centers outside of Delaware, company officials said Tuesday.
Even though officials were not willing to disclose how long they had been in talks to close the New Castle County center, vice president of public affairs Robert Sherman said employees were informed of the decision almost immediately.
“Once the decision was made to close the facility, we let the employees know,” he said during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon.
Sherman said many of the site’s 450 employees, who work in operations, global security and cash management and financial crime risk, will be given the opportunity to relocate to other HSBC sites in Chicago and Buffalo.
“We recognize that many employees will come to the conclusion that relocating is not desirable or possible,” he said. “Those people will be given severance packages and out-placement services.”
Over the last few years, HSBC has been building “Centers of Excellence” in both Buffalo and Chicago. The goal of these centers is to improve collaboration and teamwork, by having employees who hold similar positions located in one area.
“After we began building these Centers of Excellence, and moving some employees from other sites there, we began looking at employees in New Castle,” Sherman said. “After we moved the majority of the positions to the other locations, it would no longer be economical to maintain the Delaware site. It would no longer house enough employees.”
Although HSBC has not yet filed a WARN notice, which is required of businesses who plan to close a site with more than 50 workers, with the Delaware Department of Labor, Sherman said the company plans to be out of the Churchman’s Corporation Center building by the end of 2018, when the lease is up.
Officials have not determined which employees will go to specific centers, but the layoffs will happen in phases and begin in the next three to six months.
The HSBC relocations are not quite as dramatic as the 1,700 layoffs by DuPont in Delaware in 2016, but it’s still a hit to the local workforce — who will pick up the talent left behind? Or will the relocation inspire government officials to act, like they did with the DuPont layoffs?
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