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HSBC offers to help customers transitioning to digital banking as branch closures continue

HSBC is offering its customers training in how to bank digitally in a safe and effective way as it, like many banks, moves customers out of branches and towards using online services

HSBC is launching a customer education programme that aims to help customers acquire the skills and knowledge required to become confident users of mobile and online banking services.

As banks, including HSBC, make swingeing cuts to branch networks and spend more on digital service channels, they need customers to join them on the transformation.

[email protected], as the initiative is known, will help customers get started and build confidence in managing their money using mobile app and online banking services.

There will be live virtual webinars offered to customers where they will receive training in how to use digital services, how to keep safe online, and money management. Customers will be contacted and invited to sessions.

Jackie Uhi, HSBC UK head of network, said: “With many people embracing digital as their primary banking channel, some for the first time, we have developed [email protected] to help build confidence and enhance their digital skillset.

“The programme, which will be delivered across our UK branches, covers everything from how to register for our digital services and what you can do via the mobile app and online banking, to guarding yourself against fraud.

“Using video conferencing to conduct these sessions has helped us to reach more customers during the pandemic than would have otherwise been possible, and demonstrates how customers can manage their finances on the go or from the comfort of their own homes,” added Uhi.

In January, HSBC announced it was closing a further 82 branches as the Covid-19 pandemic reinforces the bank’s strategy to move customers to digital channels. It said that even without the pandemic in effect, 90% of all customer contact is now over the phone, internet or smartphone. It also said more than 100,000 customers a week interact with the bank on social media.

HSBC said it has seen more than 750,000 new mobile banking app registrations in the past year and more than one billion digital logins globally. It added that chat channels are being increasingly used by customers, with more than 105,000 chats per week.

HSBC said it plans to expand [email protected] later this year, with hopes for bank staff to deliver sessions face to face. “These will take place within our branches, across local community centres and town halls, and will eventually run in parallel to our virtual offering,” said Uhi.

In its latest branch closure announcement, where it announced the shuttering of 82 branches, HSBC said Covid-19 pandemic had “crystallised” its “thinking” in terms of reducing reliance on its branch network to serve customers.

HSBC is not alone, with hundreds – probably thousands – of branches earmarked for closure in the past few months.

TSB recently announced it would close more than 150 branches this year, with almost 1,000 jobs to go.

Across the Irish Sea, the Bank of Ireland this week said it is closing more than 80 branches in Ireland, taking its network down to 169, while in Northern Ireland the network will be reduced by 15 to 13. The bank said the decision has been made following a “seismic shift towards digital banking over the past 12 months” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read more about branch closures in the digital age

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