The financial services firm has also announced four new branch formats to reflect local market trends


HSBC headquarters at Canary Wharf, London. (Credit: Gordon Joly/Wikipedia.)

HSBC UK has unveiled plans to restructure its branch network that could see the closure of 82 branches and remodeling of others.

Apart from the impact of pandemic, the number of customers using branches has declined in the last five years, and 90% of customers use phone, internet or smartphone for banking, said the company.

Also, the restructuring decision is based on extensive analysis of customer behaviour, and aims to ensure its branches are fit for the long-term future.

The bank intends to close 82 branches in 2021, in a phased manner across the year, bringing its total number of branches to 511.

HSBC UK Network head Jackie Uhi 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.

HSBC UK to establish four different branch formats to better serve local areas

With the network restructuring, the bank intends to create four distinct branch formats, to provide local areas with the banking facilities that address customer needs.

The four new branch formats of the bank include Full-Service Branch, Cash Service Branch, Digital Service Branch, and Pop-Up Branch.

Full-Service Branch offers complete range of services, primarily in large cities and towns where branches receive wide range of requests.

Cash Service Branch supports local communities with enhanced need for access to cash, along with over-the-counter service and dealing complex issues such as bereavement and Power of Attorney.

Digital Service Branch is a counter-less branch that offers traditional cash and cheque transactions using self-service technology.

Pop Up Branch is a temporary, movable, local presence that rapidly serves customers with real-time queries, such as setting up and resetting online and digital banking, digital education, guidance and customer support.

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.

“Making sure we have a sustainable branch network is essential to us, and decisions to close branches are not taken lightly. By ensuring we have the most suitable branch format in each specific local market that we serve, we will ensure that we are in good shape to meet the challenges ahead.”

In February 2020, HSBC has announced its plans to close down 27 more branches in the UK , reducing the total number of its branches to 594.