HSBC sends mixed message to small business bank accounts

In the wake of its announcement of a massive  £7bn in half-year profits, HSBC provoked responses of outrage from many owners of small business bank accounts last week who feel  the worldwide banking conglomerate is neither lending nor listening to them.

HSBC, which persists in paying out prodigious pay bonuses to its staff, is in the doghouse with more than just politicians and small business owners, however; the bank’s decision to close a large number of its branches is also infuriating to many of its retail customers as well.

The bank has recently informed customers that frequent  seven HSBC branches that, between 27 August and 21 September, their doors will close permanently.  These seven join the 27 that have already been closed by the banking giant, and while the number of closures may not be statistically significant when HSBC has over 1,300 nationwide branches, the affected communities will keenly feel their absence.

The Findon Valley community, which uses the soon to be closed  branch near Worthing, West Sussex, will deprive it of any kind of High Street Presence as of 10 September.  The decision has outraged not only the local populace but the Conservative MP for Shoreham and East Worthing, Tim Loughton.

Loughton marched three miles last week with 60 others from Findon Valley to the Broadwater HSBC branch to present the bank with a petition bearing 1,400 signatures of those protesting the closure of their branch.

When interviewed regarding the march, Loughton said that he found it palpably ironic that HSBC’s motto is “the world’s local bank,” while it closes local branches crucial to such communities as Findon Valley.

Determined to not let the Findon Valley branch close without a fight, Loughton declared that he plans to meet with HSBC in order to discuss any possible alternatives to closure, including keeping the branch open on a part-time basis and keeping the branch’s ATM in operation.

Additionally, Loughton stated that HSBC in fact has a duty to fulfill in caring for its customers, citing the 2008 Sustainable Communities act, legislation enacted to support just such communities as Findon Valley.

HSBC released a statement concerning the matter in which it stated that the bank was currently investing in excess of than £75m annually in efforts to improve and update branches, in addition to extending opening hours for others in order to meet customer demand.   HSBC continued, stating that they have a responsibility to ensure their branches are situated properly for their customers, which can occasionally mean the closure of some where there has been a dramatic reduction in patronage.

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