Since the announcement of the closure of this branch by HSBC some weeks ago, Isle of Axholme Central Councillors, David Robinson and Tim Mitchell, and myself have been in communication with HSBC to express concerns and resident views.
This morning, David Tim and I met again with HSBC to discuss progress on their plans and to once again work through our concerns and to put some specific requests to them.
As residents will be aware, the closure decision is not something we have any say over and nor do we have any powers to prevent it, but we have continued to push HSBC on the issue. As mobile banking has expanded and more and more of us use online services, branches have become less sustainable. However, that is not a solution for all residents.
HSBC are clear the closure will go ahead but a number of action points have been agreed -
- HSBC will provide tablets to and some training to customers who do not have a 'suitable compatible device' to access mobile banking. A number of these tablets have been given to Epworth customers but more will be available.
- We are working with HSBC on a number of 'Community Pop Up' events in Epworth to further support customers. They will enable customers to have face to face meetings with bank staff to help customers access online banking, advise on the services that can be accessed at the Post Office etc etc.
- Customers will be able to access HSBC banking services at the Post Office (and pay point locations) and we have asked the bank to liaise more closely with the branch in Epworth on this. If customers do use the Post Office to access bank services, this of course helps the Post Office branch be more sustainable potentially.
- HSBC have offered to donate their branch furniture to a worthy local community group. It may not be much but we already have some groups in mind who will benefit. We also asked them about the prospect of other community grants.
- We raised concerns about the future of the building given its central location. HSBC inform us there is already interest but they wont market until after the September closure. David, Tim and I have asked for commitments that they will properly brick up the ATMs when removed with bricks that actually match given this is a conservation area. We've also asked them so consider putting some local pictures or artwork in their windows during the period the branch is for sale.
- Further work will continue with the most vulnerable customers.