Three more high street banks are to close for good

HSBC is closing its Havant branch

HSBC is closing its Havant branch

Picture: Andrew Parsons

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THREE more bank branches have announced that they will be closing their doors for good next year.

The news comes as research from consumer group Which? found that more than 1,000 have closed in the past two years across the country.

HSBC in West Street, Havant will close on March 3 and NatWest in Emsworth will close on June 7 and its Park Gate branch will close on June 8.

A spokesman for HSBC said the bank had written to all its customers to advise them of local alternatives, as well as offering them one-to-one sessions to explain their options or provide help in setting up internet banking.

They said: ‘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 per cent 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.’

It was a similar story at NatWest.

A spokesman said: ‘The way people choose to bank with us has changed radically over the last few years.

‘Between 2010 and 2015, mobile and online transactions have increased by over 400 per cent and mobile transactions alone have increased by 1,350 per cent.’

They said transactions in Emsworth had declined by 31 per cent since 2011, with 52 per cent of customers using online and or mobile banking. The spokesman said Park Gate had declined by 22 per cent since 2011 with 65 per cent of customers using online and or mobile.

A report commissioned by Which? found that high street banks have closed 1,046 bank branches between January 2015 and January 2017 across the UK in the past two years as customers go online and banking services are offered at Post Offices. Which? believes that banks should consult with local communities before closing branches to ensure the needs of their customers are being met.

Peter Vicary-Smith, Which? chief executive officer, said: ‘Access to the services necessary to make everyday banking possible should be simple and straightforward. We’ve seen some good examples of banks acting responsibly and in the interest of local communities when they close branches.

‘However, banks can and must do a better job of working with their customers to understand their needs and those of the local community, especially when they are making changes to the services they offer or closing branches.’

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