Hundreds of jobs to go as HSBC takes axe to 62 branches

HSBC has become the latest banking heavyweight to wield the axe to its high street network, announcing plans to shut 62 branches as well as cutting scores of IT jobs.

The Unite union described the branch closures as 'devastating' for HSBC staff and customers. Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
The Unite union described the branch closures as 'devastating' for HSBC staff and customers. Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The bank closures – all of which are in England and Wales – come on top of the 55 announced last year, meaning a total of 117 HSBC branches will close in 2017.

The latest move, which was announced yesterday, will put up to 180 jobs under threat and leave the group with 625 branches across the UK, including about a dozen in Scotland.

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The news came as HSBC also confirmed that 204 IT jobs could be lost as part of plans to find “significant cost savings” by the end of this year.

The group is not alone in scaling back its physical presence as the industry adapts to the surge in customers using online services.

Last week it emerged that CYBG, owner of the Clydesdale and Yorkshire banking networks, was to close 79 branches with the loss of more than 400 jobs.

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Clydesdale reveals list of 40 Scottish branches set to close

HSBC said it moved to cut the branch network after seeing a sharp rise in the number of people using internet-based and smartphone banking as opposed to over-the-counter services.

Francesca McDonagh, HSBC head of retail banking and wealth management for UK and Europe, said customers impacted by the cuts would be told about the alternative ways to bank with the company.

“More customers are using mobile and internet banking than ever before, innovation such as Touch and Voice ID has proved extremely popular, and fewer people are using branches.

“The decision to close these branches ensures a more sustainable branch network for the future as we continue to invest in our digital platforms and our people.”

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Unite union national officer Dominic Hook has called on the banking industry to rethink “such branch-culling exercises”.

“Today is a dark day for hundreds of HSBC staff who will arrive at work to be told that they could lose their job as their branch closes or their IT role is cut.

“Unite is deeply concerned that this large branch closure programme will be devastating not only for staff but also for the loyal HSBC customers who will lose their community branch.”

Antonio Simoes, chief executive of HSBC Bank, added: “We now feel we have the right branch network that complements the other ways in which customers now choose to interact with us.”