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From Ilkley Gazette, November 30th, 2022
Written by Claire Lomax

HSBC is to axe its Ilkley, Skipton and Horsforth branches next year in the face of declining footfall.

The bank branch, in Wells Road, Ilkley, will close on June 13, 2023. The Skipton branch will also close on the same day. The Horsforth branch in Town Street will close on July 18, 2023.

The are among 144 bank branches across the UK which will be closed by next year, the banking giant announced today.

The bank said it is investing tens of millions of pounds in updating and improving its remaining branch network, which will total 327 after the new wave of closures.

The decline in customers using branches has accelerated so much since the Covid pandemic that some of those closing are serving fewer than 250 people a week, HSBC said.

On the other hand, usage of its mobile app has almost tripled since 2017, with the vast majority of transactions completed digitally.

Jackie Uhi, HSBC UK’s managing director of UK distribution, said: “People are changing the way they bank and footfall in many branches is at an all-time low, with no signs of it returning. Banking remotely is becoming the norm for the vast majority of us.

“The decision to close a branch is never easy or taken lightly, especially if we are the last branch in an area, so we’ve invested heavily in our ‘post-closure’ strategy, including providing free tablet devices to selected branch customers who do not already have a device to bank digitally, alongside one-to-one coaching to help them migrate to digital banking.”

Former Ilkley Labour MP John Grogan, who has been chosen by the party to contest the seat again at the next general election said: "The announcement today that HSBC’s Ilkley branch will close on June 13th next year is a big blow to local customers including small business. HSBC have just announced bumper quarterly profits with high interest rates and increased dividend payments. They are showing complete contempt for the principles of corporate social responsibility they pay lip service to. Following the recent announcement of the closure of NatWest Bank in the town this will leave only Halifax and Santander offering a full service to customers. 

"Since 2015 over half of bank branches in the country have closed. In Parliament Labour is currently promoting an amendment to the financial services and markets bill which would give city regulators the power to ensure communities have regular access to 'essential' in person services, including opening new accounts, applying for loans, making and receiving payments and setting up standing orders. I hope the Government will accept this amendment."