Belo Horizonte ~ If you have an HSBC USA account that you regularly use in Brazil, be advised that last month HSBC Brazil lowered the daily limit one could withdraw from an account from 1000 reals ($500) to 200 reals ($100). HSBC USA still has a daily limit of $500 but HSBC Brazil explained to me today that FOR MY PROTECTION the limit was reduced to 200 reals and it was not possible to get more than that. In further banking comedy HSBC defines a day as a business day which on the weekend is from Friday at 8AM until Monday at 4PM. One is only allowed to withdraw a total of 200 reals during that period. An entire weekend for 4 people on $100. Grab the Let's Go Brazil book!
This makes it impossible to use HSBC to get cash to pay for my needs. A hotel costs more than 200 reals a night, the cab to the airport is 90 reals, a typical dinner for 4 is 150 reals and the bus costs 3 reals here in Belo Horizonte. Further in Brazil the credit card fee is generally paid by the customer instead of the vendor like in the USA. So if you use your Mastercard here, the cost of the purchase is 3 to 5% higher depending on the vendor's mood.
What HSBC is stating to their depositing masses is that they are not needed for them to make money. This makes sense because when your The World's Neighborhood Drug Money Laundering (NOT EVEN ALLEGED!) Bank, then why do you need silly depositors. All you need is legal immunity in the USA to launder Mexican drug cartel's money and you've got a new business model. Cut services and attrition will take care of your ridiculous depositor overhead.
HSBC used to be a fantastic bank to use in Brazil because all the services they provided but those have all slowly been cut and since I don't deal in the drug trade I guess I'm not the type of customer they need to keep.