HSBC to pull out of Halesowen town centre

HSBC has announced plans to shut a further 114 UK branches, or more than a quarter of its surviving sites, including its branch in Halesowen.

The decision, as the wider banking sector has consistently claimed over many years, is the result of 'the surge in online banking' which has led to decline in demand for over-the-counter transactions.

Bosses say that some of the sites to be shut were dealing with fewer than 250 people a week. The branch in Halesowen is set to close for the final time on 16th May 2023.

The bank said it was to invest tens of millions of pounds in updating and improving its remaining branch network, which will total 327 once the closures have been completed. Jackie Uhi, HSBC UK's managing director of UK distribution, said:

"People are changing the way they bank and footfall in many branches is at an all-time low, with no signs of it returning. Banking remotely is becoming the norm for the vast majority of us.

"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."

Unite the union has called on HSBC to withdraw the closures to protect vulnerable users. To progress with the closures would 'abandon the most vulnerable in our society and leave them without a neighbourhood bank served by experienced knowledgeable staff'. Unite national officer, Dominic Hook said:

"This hugely profitable financial institution is walking away from the customers and communities who most need access to local banking services.

"Of the total 114 closures proposed today the vast majority will result in no HSBC branch within 3 miles and it is disgraceful that 25 communities will be left to travel over 15 miles to the nearest branch.

"Without any corporate social responsibility to require banks to stay on our high streets to help the elderly, disabled or vulnerable, then access to cash and banking will be lost forever."


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