Over the summer of 2015, HSBC aggressively advertised a "Promotional Premier Savings Account" designed to attract new depositors and new money to their branch banking system. As featured on BestCashCow, depositors were offered a promotional rate of 1.50% which was guaranteed until January 19, 2016.
Since the 1.50% rate was (and is) better than even the best online savings rates, HSBC attracted alot of new capital through this offer. As January 19, 2016 is approaching, these same depositors were probably preparing to move their savings out of HSBC to one of the leading online savings accounts at that bank's ordinary savings rate is currently only 0.15% on deposits over $100,000 (and 0.10% on deposits over $25,000).
In order to avoid losing the deposits that it courted so aggressively, HSBC has sent a letter to those who opened these accounts over the summer notifying them that from January 19, 2016 onwards they will receive 75 basis points more than the standard HSBC Premier Savings account. The letter further agrees that HSBC will provide at least 30 days advanced notice of any subsequent decision to remove the 75 basis point incentive.
As a result of this action, those depositors who took advantage of HSBC's summer promotional offer who keep over $100,000 at HSBC will be earning 0.90% going forward until further notice. This rate of course is not anything to write home about, and is currently 15 to 20 basis points below the best online savings rates available. However, it offers the hope that 2016 will finally bring more competition from other major banks with large branch networks to attract new capital and keep capital.