Residents in Steyning and Shoreham who rely on visiting their bank were dealt a blow when HSBC announced it would be shutting both towns’ branches on August 28.
But employees have been given a lifeline as a spokesperson for the bank said there would not be any job losses, with plans to move staff to nearby branches.
We’re pleading for help. We are trying to prolong the life of our high streetPhilip Bowell
A statement issued on behalf of HSBC said: “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 understand it can be unsettling for the local community.
“Unfortunately, with an increase in the use of online and telephone banking over the past few years use of the Steyning and Shoreham branches has fallen significantly, and we’ve taken the difficult decision to close them.
“We notified customers of the closures and will be working with those who use the branches to help them understand their options, which include being able to use local post offices for their day-to-day banking.”
Residents in Steyning have been quick to react to the news, with Philip Bowell of Steyning Parish Council issuing a plea of help to save the high street.
He said: “We lost Halifax Bank last year. This year we lost Lloyds. This week we have been told HSBC is going, and also Barclays is for sale. We’re pleading for help. We are trying to prolong the life of our high street. A high street is the hub of any area.”
David Barling, county councillor for Bramber Castle division, addressed concerns that this would leave Steyning without cash machines.
He said: “There is a very strong possibility that the Co-operative will put an ATM in their window and while it will require planning permission, I think we would look at it favourably.”
According to figures released by HSBC, 93 per cent of its customers do their banking through the telephone, internet or a smartphone.