Havant HSBC bank closure

Picture: Alan Mak MP with Cllr Jackie Branson, Cllr Ray Bolton and Cllr Tim Pike after discussions about HSBC's Havant branch.

This page will carry updates from Alan Mak MP in connection with the proposed closure by HSBC of their Havant Branch in March 2017

December 7 2016 UPDATE: 

Havant MP Alan Mak has written to HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver, to call on him to reverse a decision to close the Havant branch of the bank. 

The branch is set to close on Friday 3 March, but the local MP has asked HSBC to reconsider the decision, citing the potential problems it could cause the elderly and infirm. The nearest HSBC branch will now be in Waterlooville, causing disruption for many customers.

Mr Mak has also met with stakeholders in the area, including the local councillors to discuss the best way forward. 

In the letter he said: "The West Street branch is at the heart of the Havant Constituency, and is a popular, well-used local facility which is part of the fabric of Havant. It attracts customers into the area who will then visit other local businesses, and plays a key role in the day-to-day functioning of our local economy.

"The long-term interests of HSBC and its shareholders lie in supporting local businesses and communities such as those in Havant, all of which require banking services and will remember the commitment shown to them by HSBC if you remain. At a time when the financial services sector must continue to work hard to regain public trust, I can see no better way than to operate at the heart of local communities like Havant serving local businesses and residents."

Open letter to Stuart Gulliver, Group Chief Executive of HSBC - December 7 2016

RE: Proposed closure of HSBC Branch, 39 West Street, Havant, Hampshire, PO9 1LA

Like many local residents, I was very disappointed to learn today of your plans to close the HSBC branch in Havant on Friday 3 March 2017. I am writing to ask you to review and reverse this decision.

The HSBC branch is located in a successful and vibrant business community, which includes a number of independent shops who rely on the branch for a range of business banking services. The branch also provides personal banking services to many of Havant’s residents, including a large number who are elderly or infirm, or who do not drive and would be unable to travel to your branch in Waterlooville.

Additionally, there will be a substantial group of HSBC customers in Havant who will not be able to access banking services online, and instead rely on face-to-face banking services at the branch. 

The West Street branch is at the heart of the Havant Constituency, and is a popular, well-used local facility which is part of the fabric of Havant. It attracts customers into the area who will then visit other local businesses, and plays a key role in the day-to-day functioning of our local economy.  

The long-term interests of HSBC and its shareholders lie in supporting local businesses and communities such as those in Havant, all of which require banking services and will remember the commitment shown to them by HSBC if you remain. At a time when the financial services sector must continue to work hard to regain public trust, I can see no better way than to operate at the heart of local communities like Havant serving local businesses and residents.

Your plans have prompted a strong sense of disappointment and anger amongst local residents and businesses, so I would be grateful if you could look again at this decision as a matter of urgency, including providing answers to the 13 questions attached to this letter. I look forward to speaking with your Deputy Regional Director for the South region, Mr Luke Harper, and other colleagues to discuss this issue further later this week.

Given the strength of public interest in this matter, I will be putting this letter and your reply into the public domain.

Yours sincerely,

Alan Mak MP

Member of Parliament for Havant

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Questions Re: Proposed closure of HSBC Branch, 39 West Street, Havant, Hampshire, PO9 1LA

  • Please can you explain the reasons behind your decision to close the Havant branch of HSBC? 

 

  • Why were Branch customers, local residents and businesses not consulted before this decision was made, and only notified after the decision was made?

 

  • In his letter to me, your colleague Luke Harper states that the bank is no longer generating the custom necessary to justify its continued operation. Please can you confirm that this closure decision hasn’t been made purely on a statistical basis and that other factors, such as the Branch’s importance to local businesses and residents, including many of whom are elderly, have been taken into account as well?

 

  • What steps can the local community take to ensure you reverse your decision?  For example, if there were to be an increase in transaction volume at this branch, would this cause you to change your decision?

 

  • Will the local CEO/area manager, Branch manager and/or senior HSBC colleagues agree to the following meetings in order to explain and justify the closure decision to local residents, businesses and the wider community:

 

(a) A round-table meeting in the constituency chaired by Alan Mak MP with a group representing interested local stakeholders (for example, Havant Borough Council; customers including local residents and local businesses; and community groups);

 

(b) Drop-in advice sessions at the Havant branch where local residents and customers can share their concerns on a one-on-one or small group basis.

 

  • In the event that you choose not to respond to community concerns and maintain the decision to close the branch, I understand that HSBC operates a fleet of mobile banks.  Can you ensure that a mobile bank would visit central Havant on a regular basis?

 

  • Please can you provide details of the measures you are putting into place to ensure that existing or potential customers are made aware of alternative banking facilities in the area should the Branch close? Will the existing ATM be retained?

 

  • You have suggested that the nearby Post Office will be providing a range of services previously provided at the Branch if it closes.  Please can you clarify exactly which services currently provided by the Branch will be available at the Post Office, and which will not?

 

  • Please can you reassure me that the closure of the branch will not lead to existing staff losing their jobs through compulsory redundancies? Please can you describe the steps you are taking to ensure that this is the case?

 

  • Please can you provide an outline (and a timeline) of the steps you will take should you move forward with the closure of the branch in March 2017?

 

  • Please can you confirm that if the Branch closes, HSBC will ensure that a new owner or occupier is found for the building, so that the community is not left with an empty, unused building? We do not want “empty buildings” in Havant.

 

  • Please can you confirm that residents who are concerned or who have questions can contact the local area manager directly via letter, email and telephone – and that every such enquiry will receive a personal reply? Please can you provide the name and contact details of the relevant HSBC representative that local residents and customers should direct their questions to. 

 

  • Please can you confirm that HSBC will be adhering to all aspects of the Access to Banking Protocol, and provide details about how you will meet its requirements, including any impact assessments you have made? As you will know, the main high street banks including yours, consumer groups and Government have signed up to an industry-wide agreement to work with customers and communities to minimise the impact of branch closures.

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January 11 2017 UPDATE: 

In response to the letter sent by Alan in December, HSBC replied confirming the decision to close the Havant branch. Please find the full text below:

Dear Mr Mak

Thank you for your letter of 7 December 2016, addressed to Stuart Gulliver, our Group Chief Executive, regarding the closure of our Havant branch. I’m replying on Stuart’s behalf.

I fully understand the disappointment this decision has caused you and your constituents, and am happy to address the concerns you have raised.

As you will be aware, and as advised in our letter to you of 7 December, the way in which our customer base banks has fundamentally changed in recent years. Telephone, mobile and internet banking usage has increased very significantly, with an inevitable knock-on effect on footfall within our branch network.

This means that there will be occasions where we have to make the difficult decision to close a branch. We made a very careful assessment of the sustainability of our branch in Havant, including a full study of customer activity and a review of the options available to us that might restore a healthy level of business.

The decision was only reached after an extensive evaluation of our research. This was not solely statistical, but included data on alternative facilities available, local travel options, parking facilities at alternative branches, and local access to cash and other services. There are a number of other banks in the area, a local Post Office, and HSBC is well represented with other branches located only a few miles away. Our decision to close the branch is final, and won’t be reversed.

As mentioned in Luke Harper’s letter to you of 7 December, we are particularly conscious of the impact a branch closure can have on the elderly and people with mobility issues. For this reason, our branch staff are identifying customers who have problems accessing banking facilities and providing them with advice and practical solutions where appropriate. This includes providing 1—1 appointments to discuss future banking needs, and resolving issues surrounding how these can best be achieved, talking through alternative ways of doing their banking e.g. automating pension, dividends or payments, setting up direct debits and standing orders and providing training on internet, phone banking and debit card use, including using the ATM for withdrawing cash.

Local residents and customers are more than welcome to share their concerns with branch staff and receive similar advice. Customers can also contact the Branch Manager of our Waterlooville branch using the dedicated phone number provided in the closure notification and all complaints or enquiries will receive an individual response by the person most appropriate to handle the complaint.

We did write to local stakeholders, such as Age UK Portsmouth, Havant Borough Council, Havant Citizens Advice and Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, with contact details for the Area Director, and offering to discuss their concerns in a meeting, should they so wish.

I can confirm there will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the closure of Havant branch and staff will be transferred to alternative local branches.

l’m afraid we do not operate a fleet of mobile banks as you have suggested, so this is not a service we can offer. In respect of the ATM at the branch, this will not be retained, as there remains access to fee-free cash machines at both NatWest and Halifax, within walking distance of the branch. There are a further 25 fee—free cash machines within a one mile radius.

Turning to the future of the building, we are in discussions with the landlord, but are fully supportive of your view that the premises do not remain unoccupied.

We will publish our Impact Assessment in relation to Havant branch prior to the closure of the branch, and this will be made available to all on the HSBC website.

Finally, I can confirm that HSBC does adhere to the Access to Banking Protocol, and for more information on banks application of the protocol, I would direct you to the independent report published by Russel Griggs OBE, which can be found at www.bba.org,uklnews/reportslaccess-to-banking-protocol.

As advised in our letter to you of 5 December, our Deputy Regional Director, Luke Harper, remains available to discuss any of these issues with you, should you so wish.

We are determined to do as much as possible to limit the impact of this closure on the local community, and we would be grateful if you could make us aware of any individual cases of difficulty that may be raised with you, so that we may do our utmost to arrange for appropriate assistance.

Again, I am sorry that we have had to take this very difficult decision, but I hope that l have explained the reasons for the closure of the branch, and addressed the additional points you have raised.

Yours sincerely

Scott Wilson

Senior Executive Complaints Manager

 

 

Attachments

Attachment Size
Scan Letter Stuart Gulliver.pdf 944.92 KB
HSBC letter Havant.pdf 700.27 KB