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HSBC to close 82 UK branches; revamps network for digital age

HSBC will close 82 branches in the UK this year as the Covid-19 pandemic accelerates the trend away from in-person banking and towards digital channels.

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

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.

Meanwhile, the bank is pushing 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.

Even stripping out any impact of the pandemic, the number of customers using branches has fallen by a third in the last five years, says HSBC, while 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, U, HSBC, says: “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.”