International banking giant HSBC has announced that 114 of its branches in the United Kingdom will be closing beginning on April 2023
, drawing fury and disappointment from the bank's many customers.
HSBC's recent announcement is just the latest in a series of bank closures that have occurred in the U.K. since 2020. Earlier this year, HSBC closed 69 branches across the country. Last year, HSBC closed 82 branches
The bank closures are set to begin on April 18, 2023, with six branches set to close on that day. This whole process is expected to end Aug. 29, when the last three of the 114 banks will shut down. There are seven HSBC branches that will close but have not decided when.
HSBC blamed its most recent closures on changing customer behavior, saying customers are now preferring to do their banking online
. The bank further noted that usage of its mobile app has almost tripled since 2017 and the vast majority of transactions are now completed digitally. (Related: Federal Reserve set to introduce privacy-crushing digital currency that can be 'controlled' and 'programmed' by government bureaucrats
"People are changing the way they bank and footfall in many branches is at an all-time low, with no signs of it returning," said Jackie Uhi, HSBC's managing director of distribution for the U.K. "Banking remotely is becoming the norm for the vast majority of us."
Most of the employees in the affected HSBC branches will be redeployed, either to other branches or to a different position. But around 100 employees are expected to lose their jobs.
"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."
HSBC said it will be investing tens of millions of pounds into updating and improving services in its remaining 327 branches in the United Kingdom.
HSBC's decision does not sit well with customers
Many HSBC customers have pointed out that the company is trying to pin the blame for the bank closures on them, as though they are at fault for not visiting their local HSBC branch more regularly. They added that HSBC may just be trying to justify cutting costs at the expense of ease of access for its loyal customer base.
"Soon there won't be one bank open physically!" said one angry HSBC customer on Twitter. "We will all be totally enslaved to digital currency
"Genuinely surprised they've got any [branches] left to close," said another customer. "They've closed four of my 'home branches.'"
Another HSBC customer noted that this will make the bank's already terrible customer service even worse. "Every retail customer is seen as an annoyance," he wrote. "I hope this causes their few remaining customers to go somewhere they'll be valued."
Tobias Gruber, founder and CEO of London-based credit union networking company My Community Finance, noted that HSBC is expected to save a lot of money on the bank closures and hopes that those savings will be put into "improving their digital and telephone banking offerings for their customers."
"It's unacceptable for bank customers to wait up to 30 minutes to speak to someone when it's their only choice because their local branch has vanished," said Gruber. "There are no excuses to keep customers on hold, considering the vast amount of money banks generally save from closing their high street branches."
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