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HSBC moves its UK head office to…

BIRMINGHAM CITY
Bloomberg | Getty Images

HSBC, one of the biggest banks in the world, is relocating its U.K. retail and business head office from London to another U.K. city.

Around 1,000 of the bank's 48,000 U.K. staff will be employed in Birmingham – which is rather less well-known outside the U.K. than London. It's the country's second-largest city after the capital, located in central England.

The lack of international knowledge about Birmingham was demonstrated when Steven Emerson, a terrorism commentator, claimed on Fox News in January that it was "totally Muslim" and non-Muslims "just simply don't go in" to the City. He later apologised for his "terrible error."


However, the city is increasingly becoming a hot location for banks looking for good office space outside London. Deutsche Bank already employs 2,000 staff there.

The move 100 miles north is part of HSBC's efforts to ring-fence its retail and business banking from riskier investment banks, under new post-credit crisis U.K. laws. The whole process of compliance with the new legislation is expected to cost the bank between £1-£2 billion, according to Douglas Flint, the chairman of HSBC.

- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle.