There has been shock and anger at the announced closure of the branch of the UK’s largest high street bank in Helston.
Residents and businesses who bank with HSBC have received letters from the group explaining that the branch will be closing on February 24 2017.
Customers have been advised that accounts will be transferred to their Falmouth branch. HSBC have attributed the closure to the growth of telephone and online banking which has resulted in the branch being used less frequently.
The bank have offered one-to-one sessions to those affected to help explain their options or provide help in setting up mobile or internet banking. However, one Helston businessman said: “I have always used HSBC for my business banking, and am furious about this decision. We still use the branch to pay in our takings and taking out cash required in the everyday running of our business. We have no alternative but to seek an alternative bank that continues to support Helston businesses.”
In response to the decision to close the branch, HSBC issued a statement:
“We wanted to get in contact to make you aware of our decision to close the Helston HSBC branch in Cornwall, as well as the proactive steps we are taking to inform and support our local customers.
This week we have written to all our local customers to inform them that the Helston branch will close on 24 February 2017 and advise them of local alternatives, as well as offering them 1-2-1 sessions to help explain their options or provide help in setting up mobile or internet banking.
We continually review our branch network to make sure our branches are in the right locations for our customers and we have a sustainable network for the future. Over the past five years, we have seen footfall reduce by an average of 40% at our regional branches and sometimes we have to make the difficult decision to close branches. These are not decisions we take lightly and we work closely with those impacted, including customers, to help them understand their options.
With regard to the Helston branch, we have advised our customers that there is an alternative branch in Redruth should customers wish to visit a branch and talk to a member of the HSBC team face to face.
That said, 93% of contact with the bank is now completed via the telephone, internet or smartphone, plus 97% of cash withdrawals are made via an ATM. As a result, most of our customers are already carrying out their daily banking needs without need of the branch itself. In addition to mobile and internet banking, we have put in place a number of measures to help customers, including a partnership with the Post Office, which is just a short walk from HSBC and open Monday – Friday, 9am-5.30pm and Saturday, 9am-12.30pm, so our customers can still carry out their day to day banking.
We will be working closely with our customers in the coming weeks to ensure they are fully aware of all the measures in place to support them.”