8 November 2017

Employees with a long history fighting financial crime

Two veterans who served together in the US Army more than a decade ago now work together at HSBC.


HSBC colleagues Nick Schumann and Hank Hernandez have seen their career paths cross multiple times during the past decade.

The first time was in 2007 when they were stationed in Miami with the same US Army Reserve unit. Both had previously been deployed overseas with the US Army – Nick in Kuwait and Iraq, and Hank in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They worked together again three years later, again in southern Florida, at the US Southern Command. USSOUTHCOM – in military lingo – is the US government’s regional military headquarters for Central and South America and the Caribbean. Nick was there as the senior representative of the US Treasury to advise senior military leadership on illicit finance issues. He also co-led the USSOUTHCOM Counter-Threat Finance Branch, where the Department of Defense and Treasury collaborated on the financial aspects of national security threats.

That brought Nick into direct contact with Hank, who was working for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as Team Chief for LATAM Counterterrorism and later as a Branch Chief for the Countering Transnational Organized Crime Division.

Then in 2015, both made the jump to the private sector and both chose HSBC in Miami — Nick joining in March and then convincing Hank to come aboard in July.

“One of the reasons I ended up at HSBC was because of Nick,” said Hank. “He described HSBC as a place that supports veterans, and also one taking an innovative approach to fusing the intelligence and analytic tradecraft that I knew well from my time at DIA into its efforts to fight financial crime.”

HSBC employee Hank Hernandez (left) is seen in front of the “up-armored” SUV he used to travel around northern Afghanistan as a Department of Defense intelligence officer. His HSBC colleague Nick Schumann (right) was deployed to Kuwait as a sergeant with the US 3rd Army.

In the two years since, their decision to bring their expertise to HSBC had paid off professionally. Both have relocated to New York City to work for the bank’s Financial Crime Threat Mitigation organization. Hank is now a senior manager, major investigations, and Nick is US Head of External Engagement, serving as a primary point of contact with government agencies, law enforcement and other financial firms to strengthen public-private partnership in the fight against financial crime.

Both men agree that there was an adjustment period after joining HSBC. “Big corporations have a reputation of being slow to change, but in fact private sector organizations restructure much faster than civilian US government agencies. They have to, to adapt to the changing business environment and to the changing tactics of organized crime networks,” said Nick. “In that regard, corporate life is similar to the military, where you learn to expect the unexpected. A key to military success is adaptability, and my Army experience has helped me in this sense at HSBC.”

HSBC is committed to attracting, retaining and developing veterans. Valor – the employee resource group that provides a forum for employees to discuss issues faced by veterans within the workplace – plays a central role in the efforts to recruit more veterans.

The National Chair of Valor is Mike Smith, US Chief Privacy Officer and himself a Naval Academy graduate with nine years of service in the US Navy. “We increased the hiring of veterans significantly over the past year, but there’s a lot more we can and should do,” Smith said. “We understand the value that veterans bring to HSBC, and Nick and Hank are great examples. There are many top-notch, highly skilled veterans on the job market, and we want more of them working at HSBC – because it’s the right thing to do for men and women who have served our country, and because they will make HSBC a stronger bank.”