HSBC Holdings Plc (NYSE: HBC) said it plans to save up to £2-billion (or $3.5-billion) over the next two years. by downsizing its wealth management and retail segments.

HSBC also seeks to streamline its operational structure and its information technology segment.

The bank may also seek to sell off or eliminate its unprofitable U.S. credit card division.

HSBC has total operating expenses of $37.7 billion last year.

HSBC said it will seek to focus more on global commercial banking globally, while limiting its consumer banking to markets where it can "achieve profitable scale."

The lender also said it is likely to focus more attention on fast-growing international markets like Mexico and Turkey, Asia and the Middle East.

The changes are likely to result in significant office closures and job losses, although the company did not provide specific figure.

London-based HSBC, the largest bank in Europe, has more than 295,000 employees in 87 countries at the end of last year.

HSBC shares are down about 0.67 percent in New York trading as of 9:53 a.m. (EDT).

The changes reflect big banks’ desire to shut down unprofitable business lines and the need to raise more capital, in the wake of increased regulation following the global financial crisis.

On Monday, the bank disclosed that soaring costs had hampered profits. In the first quarter of 2011, operational costs accounted for 61 percent of revenue – the bank would like to cut this figure down to the 48-52 percent range.

Stuart Gulliver, who took over as HSBC’s chief executive officer in January, warned it may take three years for the bank to meet its cost-reduction goals.

"This is not about shrinking the business but about creating capacity to re-invest in growth markets and to provide a buffer against regulatory and inflationary headwinds," Gulliver said.

"We will continue to invest in markets with strategic relevance and high actual or potential returns and will either turn around or dispose of other businesses."