HSBC reopens one city branch as another closes
Refurbished branch in Hanover Street
HSBC will retain a presence in Edinburgh when it reopens a branch this weekend as its only other outlet in the city closes.
The Hanover Street branch will welcome customers on Monday after being shut for 14 weeks for repairs and a facelift.
It will take all the accounts from the branch in Princes Street which closes on Friday (23 April), the first of 82 across the UK, that will reduce the bank’s network to 511.
The newly-refurbished Hanover Street branch will have more colleagues serving customers and some new features, including a “digital education zone”, and an area set aside for customer seminars. This could include talks on financial wellbeing or how to avoid becoming the victim of fraud.
Julie Dempsey, HSBC’s local director for Edinburgh, said: “While we are investing in our branch network nationally as well as in Edinburgh, the direction of travel for customer behaviour is quite clear – customers are becoming more comfortable primarily using online and mobile banking to take control of their finances.”
Princes Street branch closes
She said customers were turning to other channels for “very particular interactions” including face-to-face advice, when they have a complex financial issue, or they want to discuss how a major life event will affect their finances.
HSBC announced the latest branch closures on 19 January, including a branch in Falkirk High Street.
HSBC said the closure decisions have been made in response to “market trends, customer behaviour and branch usage.”
Fears over financial pressures
The head of a credit union has taken steps to help those facing new financial pressures as a result of the lockdown.
Marlene Shiels, chief executive of Edinburgh-based Capital Credit Union, says she fears a tidal wave of personal debt is looming with so much economic uncertainty ahead and her organisation has launched a Covid Wellbeing Package for employers to offer staff.
She said: “Financial resilience in this country is worryingly low and recent figures show that 14.5 million people in the UK have less than £100 in savings.
“Employers and business groups have been voicing fears around job losses and economic prospects in the coming months and I worry that people will turn to inappropriate and high-cost lenders in an effort to stabilise their finances.”