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HSBC to shut 114 more branches next year; offers free tablets to customers impacted

HSBC to shut 114 more branches next year; offers free tablets to customers impacted

HSBC is to shutter 114 bank branches in the UK next year, as footfall on the high street declines further in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

The number of people visiting an HSBC bank branch has fallen by 65% in five years, the firm said.

In a statement, HSBC comments: "The decline in branch use has accelerated so much since the Covid-19 pandemic that some of the branches closing are now serving fewer than 250 customers a week."

The bank says 97.5% of all its banking transactions now take place online.

HSBC UK managing director of UK distribution Jackie Uhi says: “People are changing the way they bank and footfall in many branches is at an all-time low, with no signs of it returning."

So far this year 248 bank branches have closed in the UK, and a further 288 are scheduled to shut by the end of December.

In October, the Financial Conduct Authority set additional expectations for banks that are considering branch or ATM closures. The guidance, which already expects banks to carry out thorough checks on the impact permanent closures will have on customers, has now been extended to cover partial closures and demands that banks make alternative provisions for customers.

Uhi says the that HSBC's branch closure programme - which affects a quarter of its nationwide network - conforms to FCA guidelines: “The decision to close a branch is never easy or taken lightly, especially if we are the last branch in an area, so we’ve invested heavily in our ‘post closure’ strategy, including providing free tablet devices to selected branch customers who do not already have a device to bank digitally, alongside one-to-one coaching to help them migrate to digital banking."

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