Banking giant HSBC is closing 82 branches across the country this year in a radical shake up of its network.
Locations of branches shutting for good include West Street in Dorking, Staines, Cross Gates in Leeds, Market Place in Richmond, Marylebone in London and Gillingham in Kent.
HSBC said the closure decisions have been made in response to ‘market trends, customer behaviour and branch usage.’
The lender said work was also underway to split up its branch network into four new categories, which will mean some branches, like those in Surbiton, Surrey, will be left with no counter service.
Is yours closing? HSBC is closing down 82 bank branches this year
It is also creating new ‘pop-up’ branches in transient locations, focused on ‘flexible and agile’ digital banking services.
A spokesperson for HSBC told This is Money that it hopes to redeploy staff affceted by the 82 branch closures.
HSBC said 81 of the branches which are being closed down are within one mile of a Post Office branch, while two-thirds are within five miles of another HSBC branch and nine in 10 are within 10 miles of a branch.
But, among critics, the closures will spark concern that elderly and vulnerable customers, some of whom may find it tough to get out and about or do not use digital banking, are being left out in the cold by big banks once again.
Jackie Uhi, HSBC UK head of network, 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.
‘Making sure we have a sustainable branch network is essential to us, and decisions to close branches are not taken lightly.
‘By ensuring we have the most suitable branch format in each specific local market that we serve, we will ensure that we are in good shape to meet the challenges ahead.’
Closing for good: The list of 82 HSBC bank branches closing this year
The 82 branch closures will bring down HSBC’s total branch network down to 511.
The lender is undertaking a major refitting of some of its branches, and have developed four new distinct categories of branches in its network, which will, in some cases, radically alter how customers can use their bank.
Full service branches, which are predominately located in big towns and cities, will retain a full range of services for customers, including a counter service.
Cash service branches will, according to the bank, ‘support local communities that are more cash intensive.’
These will offer customers more access to cash and retain a counter service. They will also be able to deal with more complex matters like power of attorney and bereavement.
The lender is also creating digital service branches.
These branches will have no counter service.
Customers will have to use ‘self-service technology’ at these sites.
The group said its fourth and final category of branches would be pop-up sites.
Explaining what these are, HSBC said: ‘These are a temporary, moveable, local presence that is flexible and agile, helping customers with ‘in the moment’ queries including help setting up and resetting online and digital banking, providing digital education, guidance and customer support.’
HSBC said that work to reformat, refurbish and ‘refresh’ its branches was already underway, with work set to finish by the end of the year. The group’s new ‘pop up’ branches will be rolled out later this year.
According to consumer group Which?, banks and building societies have closed 3,770 branches since January 2015, at a rate of around 55 a month.
Which HSBC branches are cutting counter services?
This is Money can exclusively reveal that there are 10 trial locations where HSBC is refitting its branches and axing counter services.
The locations affected are: Surbiton, Farnborough, Chiswick High Road, Bracknell, Lichfield, Newcastle Under Lyme, Clapham Junction, East Grinstead, Nuneaton and Kings Lynn.
Use these instead: HSBC wants to bolster its digital offerings to customers
A spokesperson for HSBC told This is Money: ‘By removing the counter from the branch we are helping customers with more members of branch staff in the banking hall instead of behind a counter screen, which feedback tells us is valued interaction by our customers.
‘We expect this will mean customers will be seen more quickly alongside reduced queues as a result of this change.
‘This planned pilot will have no impact on the ability of branch colleagues to discuss important life events, provide access to cash or open or service any of our products.’