HSBC plans to axe 82 branches in Britain this year after a drop in footfall across its retail network and a surge in digital banking, the bank said on Tuesday.
The lender said it would be left with 511 branches in the UK after the closures, with many of those to be remodelled and some to provide fewer services.
A spokesman for HSBC said the bank would aim to redeploy affected staff to nearby branches where possible, adding that customers would see the removal of counter services in some of the retained branches.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dented bank finances, putting pressure on lenders to cut costs, while more customers have opted to bank online after being encouraged to stay at home to combat the spread of the virus.
HSBC said it had begun trials of different branch formats and decided to provide fewer full-service branches in large cities and towns while others focus on providing cash and self-service technology.
The bank said that ‘pop-up’ mobile branches would also be rolled out this year, adding that the trend of decreasing use of branches predated the pandemic.