London (awp/afp) – Banking giant HSBC wants to close 114 UK branches from April, around a quarter of its branches in the country, with around 100 jobs at risk.
As reported by the AP agency on Wednesday, the bank justifies itself by indicating that it has suffered a drop in the frequency of use of these agencies in the last five years, particularly since the pandemic, when the use of online banking has accelerated.
HSBC says it hopes to be able to redeploy most of the employees to other branches and other roles, but as many as 100 people could still lose their jobs, according to PA.
Following the closures, there will remain 327 UK branches of the bank.
The banking giant is developing an alternative network of banking “hubs”, offices installed in the agencies of other institutions, such as post offices, for example, or rotating points of banking services shared by several brands in turn.
“The decision to close a branch is never taken lightly, especially if we are last in a particular area,” the bank says, quoted by PA.
The UK is subject to mass branch closures across the country, to the point that some areas are now being described as “banking deserts”.
Earlier this year, HSBC had already announced the closure of 400 branches.
If online banking applications and sites “have become increasingly user-friendly (…) reducing the need for branches”, this decision could “unfairly hit certain sectors of society, such as those without Internet or older people who struggle with technology,” said Victoria Scholar, an analyst at Interactive Investor.
The Unite union says it is “disgusted” by these new closures of HSBC sites, at the expense of “the customers and communities who need banking services the most”.
It calls on HSBC to “reconsider” this option and not “abandon the most vulnerable in our society”.
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