HSBC announces 82 UK branch closures

HSBC has announced that will close 82 branches in the UK this year as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates the move away from in-person banking and towards digital methods.

The closures, which will leave HSBC with 511 branches across the UK, will take place between April and September, with the bank planning to avoid any redundancies by redeploying staff.

In June last year, the bank lifted the three-month pause on its restructuring plan which will see it cut up to 35,000 jobs. In March 2020, HSBC halted plans to cut $100 billion in assets and dramatically cut the size of its investment bank in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Of the branches selected for closure, 81 are within one mile of a Post Office, where customers can carry out day-to-day transactions, and two-thirds are within five miles of another HSBC branch, Finextra reports.

Meanwhile, the bank is moving ahead with plans to create four distinct branch formats: full service; cash service for communities that are more cash intensive; digital service focused on offering self-service technology; and pop ups.

According to HSBC, even before COVID-19, the number of customers using bank branches has dropped by a third in the last five years. At the same time, 90% of contact with the bank is over the phone, internet or smartphone. Over 100,000 customers a week interact on social media.

Jackie Uhi, head of network, HSBC, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the need for the changes that we are making. It hasn’t pushed us in a different direction but reinforces the things that we were focusing on before and has crystalised our thinking. This is a strategic direction that we need to take to have a branch network fit for the future.”

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