HSBC to go in further bank blow for town

HSBC bank on Clifton Street, Lytham which is closing in the new year
HSBC bank on Clifton Street, Lytham which is closing in the new year
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Another bank is to close in Lytham

With the town still reeling from the prospect of being one of 14 locations across Lancashire to lose its branch of NatWest next summer, HSBC has confirmed that its outlet in Clifton Square is to shut – as soon as February.

As with NatWest, HSBC blames the increase in internet banking and the consequent droop in the number of customers for the closures.

HSBC, which promotes itself as ‘the world’s local bank says footfall at its branches has fallen by more than 40 per cent overall in the last five years and that 93 per cent of contact with the bank is made by phone, smart phone or by other online means.

A spokesman for HSBC said: “The Clifton Square, Lytham branch of HSBC will close on February 10, 2017.

“We have written to customers to make them aware of our decision to close the branch, and advise them of local alternatives, as well as offering them one-to-one 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 an overall reduction in footfall at our branches of more than 40 per cent, 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 and staff, to help them understand their options.

“With regard to the Lytham branch, we have advised our customers that there is an alternative branch at 11 St Annes Road West, St Annes, should customers wish to visit a branch and talk to a member of the HSBC team face to face.

“That said, 93 per cent of contact with the bank is now completed via the telephone, internet or smartphone, plus 97 per cent 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 is just a short walk from HSBC on Park Street, so our customers can still carry out their day-to-day banking.”

The loss of HSBC and NatWest in the coming months follows the closure of Lytham’s branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland in August 2015.

Michael Sayward, secretary of the Lytham Business Partnership and owner of the Attire shop in Clifton Street, said: “As a local business owner, the knock on effect of banks closing makes life harder work to run our business as we have to travel to St Annes. Yes we can use the post office but everything takes longer.

“However it does provide a new business a fantastic opportunity to take a prime location and hopefully bring something new to our vibrant town. It’s just a shame to see the ‘world’s local bank’ become a little less local.”