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HSBC to close 114 UK branches as more people bank online

December 06, 2022

HSBC says it will close 114 more branches in the UK from April, as customers using them have fallen significantly since the pandemic.

The bank said it would try to redeploy affected staff but about 100 will lose their jobs.

Banks have closed thousands of branches in recent years as more people bank online and lenders cut costs.

HSBC said it would invest in updating its remaining 327 branches, but a union accused it of abandoning customers.

"Without any corporate social responsibility to require banks to stay on our high streets to help the elderly, disabled or vulnerable, then access to cash and banking will be lost forever," said Dominic Hook, national officer at Unite.

Jackie Uhi, HSBC's managing director of UK distribution, said people were changing the way they bank and footfall in many branches was at an "all-time low, with no signs of it returning".

"Banking remotely is becoming the norm for the vast majority of us," she added.

She said the decision to close a branch was "never easy or taken lightly", especially if it was the last branch in an area.

She added that HSBC was investing in "post-closure" measures, such as providing free tablet devices to help some branch customers bank digitally.

While it is inevitable that branches are being shut, it is the speed of those closures that will cause concern.

Hundreds of branches are being axed every year. That is far faster rate than potential replacements can be opened to help those left struggling.

So-called shared banking hubs have been earmarked for 27 areas of the UK, with only two having opened their doors so far.

They allow local businesses and vulnerable residents who are customers of any bank to deposit and withdraw cash.

Although widely welcomed and supported, charities and consumer groups are calling for the project to speed up.

The latest closures come after HSBC said in March that it planned to shut 69 branches by this autumn.

It said footfall in three quarters of the branches set to close had halved over the past five years, a trend that had sped up since the pandemic.

Some HSBC branches serve fewer than 250 people per week, it added, while more than nine in 10 transactions at the bank are now done digitally.-BBC

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Last modified on Tuesday, 06 December 2022 20:17