HSBC closure’ will  be a blow for us’

Customers urged to switch banks

Bank customers in Westbury on Trym are being urged to ditch HSBC and move to another bank, after the multinational said it was closing the local branch.

HSBC is closing the Canford Lane branch in August next year as part of a swathe of cut backs.

The move has been condemned by some, who say it is bad news for the community, especially considering the aging population of the village.

But chair of the Westbury on Trym Society Hilary Long said if people are affected, they should simply move bank.

She told the Voice: “Plenty of other good fish in the sea, the sea. Go to Nationwide instead. One fool’s loss is another’s gain – and they are pretty good!”

The branch is among 114 being closed by HSBC, three of them in Bristol.  In a nine page “impact analysis” report HSBC said: “After careful evaluation, we have made the difficult decision to close this branch on Tuesday, 1 August 2023.”

It said the decision had been taken because numbers of people visiting branches had dropped by a third in the last five years, as more people use intent banking and mobile phone apps.

“Nine in ten customers now transact via Telephone, Internet or Smartphone whilst 99% of cash withdrawals are made at an ATM.”

Steve Smith, Conservative Bristol City Councillor for Westbury, said there was no doubt the decision was a blow to the village.

He said: “Westbury Village has a lot to offer but the banks are one of the things that draw people in.  It looks like this decision is a done deal but we’ll do our best to talk to the remaining banks and understand their plans for the future.”

Bristol’s Labour Metro Mayor, Dan Norris, said since 2015 nearly half of the UK’s bank branches had closed.

He said: “This is concerning news. The announcement that HSBC’s Downend, Filton and Westbury on Trym branches will close next year will come as a big blow to locals, and particularly grates when the company have just announced bumper quarterly profits.

“It’s inevitable that banks and banking systems will continue to move with the times and innovate and change, but the Tories’ failure to protect these services risks cutting off thousands from essential goods and services, particularly those poorer and older residents who rely on face-to-face services more than others.

“I hope ministers do the right thing and back Labour’s proposal to protect these vital services which so many Bristolians in the city depend on.”

HSBC in Westbury        Photo: Daniel Broughton