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HSBC to close 114 branches by April next year

Victoria Hartley
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Victoria Hartley

HSBC has confirmed that it will close 114 branches across the country by April next year pointing to changing customer habits from physical towards digital banking.

The lender currently has 441 branches, so with the reductions the total branch numbers fall to 327.

The bank said next year it would also invest tens of millions of pounds to update and improve its branch network.

HSBC added that as part of its post-closure strategy it would provide tablet devices and one-to-one coaching for selected customers.

Other actions that could potentially be taken include home training sessions and community pop-up events with 350 of the latter planned for next year.

It also noted that there would “significant investment” in growing the digital functionality of its online bank and further investment in its Shared Bank Hubs and Community Access to Cash initiatives.

HSBC bank footfall on the slide

HSBC said that over the past five years, use of its branch network had fallen by 65%, and footfall in the vast majority of closing branches had fallen by at least half.

The bank said that Covid-19 had exacerbated this trend, and some branches were serving fewer than 250 customers per week.

On the flip side, the lender said presently, nine in ten transactions completed digitally and the use of its app has almost tripled since 2017.

HSBC added that digital payments had also nearly tripled over the past five years, and 99 per cent of personal loans and 98 per cent of credit cards were procured digitally.

The use of its live chat service has also increased by more than tenfold in the last three years.

Jackie Uhi, HSBC UK’s managing director of UK distribution, 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. Banking remotely is becoming the norm for the vast majority of us.

“Not only can we do it anywhere at any time of day or night, many more things can be done at the customers’ convenience and don’t rely on a branch visit.”

She continued that branches would continue to play an important role in day-to-day banking and provide specialist face-to-face support.

Uhi added that customers could also access the lender through its post office network, community pop-ups, upcoming banking hubs, live chat, social media and telephone banking.

Related: A in-depth guide to your rights when your bank branch closes