Ramsgate HSBC among 82 due to be shut down this year

HSBC Ramsgate © Copyright N Chadwick and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

The Ramsgate branch of HSBC bank is among 82 that will be closed this year.

The high street branch will shut its door on September 10. The nearest branch will then be at Westwood Cross.

The closure follows “a detailed review” and will mean the HSBC branches will be reduced to 511. The closures will be phased throughout the year.

HSBC says of the branches selected for closure, 81 are within one mile of a Post Office, where customers can carry out day-to-day transactions, two-thirds are within five miles of another HSBC branch and nine in ten are within 10 miles.

The bank chain says there will be a new format for customers including full service branches, cash service outlets, digital service and pop ups of temporary, movable, local sites.

Work to reformat and refurbish branches has already started and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. The new ‘pop up’ branches will be rolled out later this year.

Jackie Uhi, HSBC UK’s Head of Network said: “Over the last few months, we’ve been conducting a number of pilots to test out a range of potential future branch formats at different locations to make sure we are giving customers what they want where they want it. Our findings have led us to create four new and distinctive formats that we believe will be well-suited to serve the different local markets that we operate in, with a branch network that is fit for the future.

“We know there will always be a need for face-to-face customer support and the evolution of our branches very much takes that into account. In recent years we have introduced more digital options to make our customers’ lives easier – depositing cheques or putting a temporary block on a card, for example – and we know that customers are becoming more comfortable primarily using online and mobile banking to take control of their finances, turning to other channels for very particular interactions.

“Giving more and better options to enable customers to manage their finances, including self-service, has uncovered a latent demand. The direction of travel is really quite clear and this is borne out by the reduction in branch usage and increase in digital interaction that we are seeing first-hand.”

HSBC says stripping out any impact of the pandemic, the number of customers using branches has fallen by a third in the last five years. Nine in ten (90%) of all customer contact with us is over the phone, internet or smartphone, in addition to talking to over 100k customers a week on social media.

Jackie Uhi added: “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.”