Five HSBC branches in NW among 117 to close

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Five HSBC branches in the North West – including one at the University of Manchester – are among 117 to close with 384 employees set to be made redundant, including IT staff.

The bank says the axing of the branches reflected changes in the way customers are banking as people increasingly  mobile and internet banking rather than visiting branching.

Branches at Keswick, Blackpool, Carlisle, the university and in Swinton, Salford have all earmarked to close.

Some 180 of the job cuts are in branches and 204 are IT staff.

The number of customers using HSBC branches has fallen by almost 40% with 93% of customers contact with the bank now completed by the telephone, internet or smartphone, the bank said. Some 97% of cash withdrawals are made at an ATM.

HSBC said it would “seek to redeploy as many of the people impacted as possible”.

Head of retail banking and wealth management for UK and Europe Francesca McDonagh said: “The way our customers bank with us is changing.

“More customers are using mobile and internet banking than ever before… and fewer people are using branches.

“More than 90% of our interactions with customers are now through our digital channels – an increase from 80% last year.”

She added: “The decision to close these branches ensures a more sustainable branch network for the future as we continue to invest in our digital platforms and our people.

“We will have fewer but better branches, with more empowered front line colleagues using a greater range of technology to support all our customers’ needs.”

McDonagh said the bank’s priority now was to work with colleagues, customers and communities impacted by the announcement.

She said: “We are contacting customers to explain the decision and help them with alternative ways to bank with us.

“We will offer customers individual sessions to help explain their options or provide help in setting up telephone, mobile or internet banking.”

The union Unite said the move was a “dark day” for the workforce.

Dominic Hook, Unite national officer said: “Today is a dark day for hundreds of HSBC staff who will arrive at work to be told  that they could lose their job as their branch closes or their IT role is cut.
“Unite is deeply concerned that this large branch closure programme will be devastating not only for staff but also for the loyal HSBC customers who will lose their community branch.
“This announcement comes just days after the disappointing news that Yorkshire and Clydesdale Bank will be shutting 79 branches with 400 job losses.
“Unite is again calling on the banking industry to rethink such branch culling exercises, which do nothing to reassure customers or staff that banking is accessible and open to all.  

“Without doubt customer service in financial services will suffer if our high streets are left with no local branches. The banking industry must act to prevent confidence in our banking system falling further.”
The IT job losses announced today are a result of the majority of the roles from the UK being offshored to India, China and Poland.
Unite will be pressing HSBC to ensure that there are no compulsory job losses made as a result of the branch closure plans announced.