Concerns elderly being ‘ignored’ as two HSBC branches to shut in Northern Ireland

The bank plans to move more operations online

An SDLP MLA has expressed concerns that elderly people are being cast aside, as two HSBC branches are set to close in Northern Ireland in the spring.

Coleraine will close on 5 May, while the Portadown branch will shut its doors on 6 June 2023 as part of UK-wide plans by the banking giant to make 114 closures.

The bank said it has seen a substantial decline in customers coming into its branches over the last five years, but especially since the pandemic.

SDLP East Derry MLA Cara Hunter said she is concerned for local customers: "Over the last decade we have seen multiple bank branch closures across our constituency.

"While we recognise that online banking is becoming increasingly popular it cannot work as a wholesale replacement while barriers to access for elderly people or those with poor internet connections continue to exist. 

"There will always be people who prefer doing their banking at a brick-and-mortar location and we need to ensure that their needs remain catered for and are not ignored.

“I accept that HSBC has confirmed that UK and first direct personal current account customers can access their bank account at Post Office branches for cash withdrawals, cash deposits, cheque deposits, and balance enquiries which provides some mitigation, but people will still miss the services they relied on from their local bank.

“This closure will inevitably lead to yet another empty building in Coleraine town centre, which has suffered so much in recent times.

"What we need to see is a Stormont Executive back up and running and a renewed focus on sustainable investment in our town centre, supporting the efforts being made here locally to reinvigorate our retail economy.”

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