28th Feb 2020
HSBC is set to close further branches this year, as the shift towards online banking increasingly takes hold on the high street.
Some 27 branches will be closed this year, with the majority of closures taking place in July. Branches will be shut in places including Bristol, Cheltenham and Kensington High Street and Regent Street in London.
The bank has however committed to spending £34 million to improve its remaining 594 branches across the UK.
Stuart Haire, HSBC UK’s Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, commented: “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.”
According to HSBC less than 1% of cash withdrawals take place inside branches, while 90% of the bank’s customers use its online services or telephone banking.
Haire continued: “The upshot is that significantly fewer people are using our branches. The decision to close these branches will help to ensure a sustainable branch network for the future and allow us to continue to invest in it, as illustrated by the improvement to 49 branches in 2020, along with the continuing investments in our people and digital platforms.”
A House of Commons report published at the start of 2020 warned that the rural population, as well as the disabled and elderly, are being adversely affected by branch closures and the shift to online banking, with the latter two groups facing “significant challenges”.