HSBC To Axe 62 UK Branches Due To Rise in Digital Banking

HSBC will close a further 62 bank branches in the UK in 2017, pointing to the growth of mobile and internet banking.

The bank was singled out in a survey by consumer group Which? in December as having closed the most branches in 2015 and 2016.

HSBC said the plans brought its “branch restructuring programme” to an end.

The move is expected to lead to 180 redundancies, although it hopes to redeploy staff.

“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,” said Francesca McDonagh, HSBC’s head of retail banking.

“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.”

The Which? research, published in December, found that HSBC had closed more than a quarter of its UK branches over the last two years, as part of 1,000 bank closures in total.

HSBC said it closed 223 branches last year. There were already plans to shut 55 this year, with the extra 62 now added.

Some of those earmarked for closure will shut in the summer, but some will stay open until the end of the year. Unions are unhappy with the plans.

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 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.”

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