Bank group announces plans to axe 27 branches

Banking group HSBC has announced plans to close 27 branches during 2020, including three in the North West region.

The latest closures will leave the group with 594 branches throughout the UK.

HSBC said the decision to axe the branches is driven by changes in the way people are carrying out their day-to-day banking.

The three sites to close in the region are in Wallasey in the Wirral, and Leigh Bradshawgate, on July 10, followed by the Heswall branch in Wirral later this year.

An HSBC spokesman said: “The plans reflect the long-term change in the way customers are banking alongside the bank’s need to ensure a sustainable branch network for the future.”

The bank said the number of customers using its branches has fallen by a third over the past five years.

It claims that nine in 10 of its customers complete transactions either using the telephone, internet or smartphone, while 99% of cash withdrawals are made at an ATM.

Stuart Haire, HSBC UK’s head of retail banking and wealth management, said: “Retaining a sustainable branch network is extremely important to us and we need to ensure it is fit for the future.

“But, the way our customers bank with us has changed significantly over the last five to 10 years, and that change is something we cannot ignore.”

However, the bank said it will invest almost £34m in its branches this year, including installing new technology and refurbishing 49 sites.

Among the branches earmarked for refurbishment are Blackburn, Wigan, and Ormskirk.

HSBC said the latest closures are separate to the shake-up announced a week ago, which involves plans to cut about 35,000 jobs worldwide.

Approximately 46 jobs at 10 branches are at risk as a result of the decision, said the spokesman, adding: “We will be supporting them to apply for other roles within HSBC.”

Staff at the other 17 branches will be redeployed to nearby sites.