HSBC confirm closure of another 27 branches

27 February 2020   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

18 branches will close in July 2020 with a further nine branch closure dates set to be confirmed in the months ahead.

Among the closures are flagship locations in London such as Regent Street and Kensington High Street.

HSBC say the closure programme is a response to the changes in the way customers access their banking services.

It's part of a long-term trend, with closure programmes from many major banks changing the face of the high street in recent years.

hsbc bank branch
Credit: Ttatty/

HSBC closures

27 branches are included in this round of closures, including four in London and branches in smaller towns like Pudsey and Pembroke.

The closures will bring the number of HSBC branches in the UK down to 594. It follows a previous closure programme which saw 321 branches disappear in two years between January 2015 and December 2016.

In January 2017, they announced the closure of 62 further branches, arguing at the time that more than 90% of customer interactions were through digital channels.

It's true that forecasts suggest mobile banking will overtake branch visits by 2021, fuelling the rise of bank branch closures across the board.

Larger trend

This latest announcement from HSBC represents another trickle of branch closures that have led to more than 3,000 branch locations vanishing from high streets across the country.

RBS undertook a huge closure programme in 2018, closing 62 of their branches and 197 NatWest branches within six months.

In November 2019, TSB announced 15% (86) of their branches would close in 2020, reducing their footprint to 454 across the UK.

Since 2015, Barclays have closed over 450 branches, more 400 Lloyds branches have vanished, and Santander shuttered over 300.

Nationwide have pledged to retain branches in every city and town where they still have a presence until at least 2021, although they had closed more than 20 branches in the years before the pledge was made.

The only bank to improve on their high street presence is Metro Bank who operate "stores" rather than branches and are committed to growing their physical footprint.

That said, in their recent financial report for 2019, they admitted they would only be opening 15 stores in the North of England by 2025 rather than the 30 they had originally planned.

Access to cash

HSBC's decision to close another 27 branches, coupled with the closures seen across other banks, brings access to cash back into the spotlight.

When a bank branch closes, it takes any attached free-to-use ATMs with it. With many branch closures impacting rural areas, this exacerbates access to cash for customers who may not have many other options such as supermarket ATMs or Post Office withdrawals.

Concerns about the availability of free cash machines are raised frequently, with the Chair of the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) highlighting in February 2019 that access to cash provision had to change to secure its future.

Up to 50 new cash machines may be installed under an ongoing scheme funded by Link, but these ATMs are limited to areas where there is no Post Office access as cash is available over the counter there as part of the Post Office Banking Framework agreement.

When Barclays opted out of the Post Office cash withdrawal scheme in October 2019, there was an instant outcry about the impact on customers in remote locations. A few weeks later they reversed their decision.

Get insider tips and the latest offers in our newsletter

independent comparison

We are independent of all of the products and services we compare.

fair comparison

We order our comparison tables by price or feature and never by referral revenue.

charity donations and climate positive

We donate at least 5% of our profits to charity, and we have a climate positive workforce.