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    Footfall worries as HSBC to close over 100 branches

    A sign is pictured above a branch of a HSBC bank in central London on April 26, 2022. (Photo by NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images)

    The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) said it is disappointed to learn that HSBC will be closing 114 of its branches in 2023.

    The association, which works with over 6,000 independent businesses of all sizes across the UK, said it was concerned that the major high street bank were taking the measures.

    It was announced on Wednesday that HSBC will be closing the branches in April, the latest in a string of such announcements by retail banks in the country as they slash their networks to try and cut costs.

    HSBC, in common with peers such as Lloyds Banking Group that has also closed branches in recent months, blamed changing customer behaviour for the move, saying customers are increasingly banking online.

    But BIRA has expressed concerns that this move will further dampen the footfall to the high street and lessen the support that independent shops would be getting.

    “With this announcements from HSBC we see another example of large corporations deserting the high street and local communities. The excuse of on-line banking becoming dominant does not take into account the impact on people and businesses,” Andrew Goodacre, BIRA chief executive, said.

    “Cash is still used in business and in the current cost of living crisis, we are seeing more cash being used by shoppers. Businesses therefore need banks to help them manage the cash and ensure the business meets the needs of customers.

    “We also have concerns for people who do not use online banking. If banks are going to close down branches and leave the high street then we need to see a quicker roll out of the banking hubs so that vital services are retained. I could understand it better if these banks were losing money, but we know that is not the case,” he added.

    HSBC said it will invest tens of millions of pounds in updating and improving its remaining 327 branches.

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