HSBC to axe 114 high street branches as customers move to online transactions
Banking group HSBC is to close 114 high street branches next year, with five in the North West affected.
It blamed the number of transactions now taking place online for the closure of its bricks and mortar branches. HSBC said 97.5% of all its transactions now take place online.
And it revealed that the number of people visiting an HSBC has fallen by 65% in five years.
An HSBC statement said: “The decline in branch use has accelerated so much since the COVID-19 pandemic that some of the branches closing are now serving fewer than 250 customers a week.”
HSBC UK managing director of UK distribution, Jackie Uhi, said: “People are changing the way they bank and footfall in many branches is at an all-time low, with no signs of it returning.
“The decision to close a branch is never easy or taken lightly, especially if we are the last branch in an area, so we’ve invested heavily in our ‘post closure’ strategy, including providing free tablet devices to selected branch customers who do not already have a device to bank digitally, alongside one-to-one coaching to help them migrate to digital banking.”
The North West branches earmarked for closure are Wilmslow, on May 2, 2023, Knutsford (June 6), Bromborough (July 18), Ormskirk (August 1), and Colwyn Bay (August 15).
Tobias Gruber, founder and CEO of Mycommunityfinance.co.uk said: “I’m not surprised HSBC have announced they’re set to close yet more branches as customers transition to online banking in their droves, but I hope the bank will plough the money saved into improving their digital and telephone banking offerings for their customers.
“It’s unacceptable for bank customers to wait up to 30 minutes to speak to someone when it’s their only choice because their local branch has vanished. There are no excuses to keep customers on hold, considering the vast amount of money banks generally save from closing their high street branches.”
He added: “Post offices are one alternative for basic transactions like paying in cheques and cash, but this move by HSBC will undoubtedly leave even more rural customers that don’t wish and unable to use the internet to do their banking frustrated, stuck and unable to access their money”