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HSBC Five Oaks Closure ‘A Huge Loss’

Islanders have expressed shock and dismay that Jersey is losing two HSBC branches.

Businesses and people who use the Five Oaks branch have been questioning why it needs to be closed as it would mean longer trips through town to cash in large amounts of money.

A finance manager from a St Saviour business says her company is having to rethink its entire banking strategy.

"At the moment, we bank once a week, [and] probably around once a month we have to order and collect change, and if we're going to have to be able to do that, we're probably going to have to change that to once a month."

The woman Channel 103 has spoken to says she fears more cars will be heading to town as people are forced to use the bank’s Kings Street branch once the St Saviour one closes, creating more traffic in an already busy area.

"It's a proper little community bank up here. HSBC has been a fantastic bank and it's just a very disappointing development.

The elderly and the less mobile - of which I am one, I have trouble walking - have to find somewhere in town (to park) and then walk. For me that's almost an impossibility,“

HSBC has also announced it will be closing its Halkett Street branch due to a decrease in footfall since the pandemic and what it call an ‘increasing preference’ for online and mobile banking. 

A former HSBC employee told us it did not come as a shock to her that it would be shutting up shop.

"It's not been particularly functional, or value-adding, at least since before Covid. Five Oaks in my opinion, both professionally and personally, is a huge loss.

Every time I have ever gone into Five Oaks it has been absolutely heaving. The people up there are well known to the staff members particularly, it's a real family vibe."

The ex staff member told Channel 103 she believes it is an indication as to where banking in the island is heading, with other notable banks also turning towards mobile banking and closing brick-and-mortar branches.

"There has been a notable trend towards customer bases being pushed towards online and telephone, other notable banks in the Channel Islands have closed branches without replacement, and all of them have very prominent online-specific services."

However, she adds, Five Oaks is a highly-regarded branch in Jersey and is on par in popularity and reviews with the flagship in town.

She says King Street has high footfall, so customers cannot always be seen quickly. Five Oaks - she says- does not seem to have that issue.

"Five Oaks also have some real subject-matter experts… some really dedicated members of staff who have been there years and they really know a wide variety of products and services, but they also really know their clientele."

HSBC’s King Street is being renovated. 

No jobs are expected to be lost as a result of the branch closures.

A current HSBC employee told us a vast majority of people require better, online banking facilities.

Examples he gives include, being able to bank a cheque through an app, accessing years of statements on a phone, and having the ability to bank from the comfort of your house.

"All of this comes at a great cost when servicing the planet! Thus, the need for backstreet branches to service a very small minority being fully-serviced by staff, the cost of rent in Jersey, insurance, and more…makes it insensible."

They can't please everybody all of the time, so they aim for the majority. That’s logic surely!"

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