Published:
October 31, 2016
HSBC announces closure of its Burnham-On-Sea branch - full reaction

HSBC is to shut down its branch in Burnham-On-Sea town centre as part of a cost-cutting move, it was announced on Monday.

The bank's branch, in Burnham's College Street, will shut at the end of January 2017, says the firm.

HSBC blames a sharp 28 per cent reduction in customers at the Burnham-On-Sea branch for the "difficult decision".

Burnham's MP James Heappey says the closure "is deeply disappointing" and he has criticised the firm's decision.

An HSBC spokesperson told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "We have written to all our local customers today (Monday) to inform them that the Burnham-On-Sea branch will close on 27 January 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 28% at our Burnham-On-Sea branch and based on this, we have made the difficult decision to close the branch."

"This is not a decision we have taken lightly and we will work closely with those impacted, including customers, to help them understand their options."

"With regard to the Burnham-On-Sea branch, we have advised our customers that there is an alternative branch in Bridgwater 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 has a branch a three minute walk from the Burnham-On-Sea HSBC branch. The Burnham-On-Sea Post Office is open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5.30pm and Saturday, 9am – 12.30pm, so our customers can still carry out their day-to-day banking."

However, Burnham's MP James Heappey told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "I am deeply disappointed to hear that HSBC will be closing its branches in Burnham-On-Sea and Shepton Mallet."

"HSBC briefed me on the closures last week and I understand staff were told last week too. Whilst HSBC are offering opportunities for all affected staff in other branches, my first concern is with those whose jobs are affected."

"HSBC tell me that customers will be receiving letters explaining the closure and the alternative arrangements they propose in the post today. They argue that the branches are no longer viable as more and more customers are choosing to bank online."

"But this is the same story as we’ve seen from HSBC and other banks in other towns across the Wells Constituency and across the country. Undoubtedly more and more people are willing and able to do their banking online but there is scant regard for those who cannot travel to other nearby branches, are unable to use the internet and for small businesses who need a nearby facility to bank their cash every day in order to remain within in the terms of their insurance policies. HSBC will offer the post offices in Burnham and Shepton as an alternative but Post Office are not able to offer a full range of services; especially for small businesses. They’re not able to do this because the banks won’t let them!"

"I strongly encourage both business and personal banking customers to switch their accounts to other banks in the towns. In Shepton this is particularly important as there will now be just one remaining bank. The banks look simply at the amount and value of business done in a branch and so the best way to guard against further closures is to make sure that remaining banks are rewarded with as much business as possible."

"I have been campaigning in Parliament over the regulations on bank branch closures since the loss of all the remaining banks in Glastonbury last year. Most recently, that has included a meeting with Professor Russel Griggs who has been conducting a review into the Access to Banking Protocols. Professor Griggs will publish his report in the next few weeks but it will include significant recommendations for a revision of these protocols. I have discussed the likely recommendations with HSBC and they have confirmed that they will be seeking to manage the closure of these branches, as much as possible, in accordance with whatever recommendations Professor Griggs makes."

"It is hugely frustrating that yet more bank branches are closing and there is no escaping that for some in our community, there is no option other than banking in person, over the counter in a local bank. Until post offices are empowered to offer a full service in lieu of a bank and until cashless facilities are available to small businesses without significant transaction fees; it is disingenuous for our high street banks to claim that they can close branches without impact. I will continue to push them hard on these issues."


Meanwhile, HSBC says that customers who have questions about the closure should contact the bank's community communication team on Freephone 0800 243 364 or via HSBCcommunitycomms@grayling.com.
The bank will also hold ‘Alternative Ways to Bank’ drop-in sessions in Burnham-On-Sea every other Wednesday from 9th November 2016 from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

 

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