Llangollen Chamber of Trade and Tourism recently wrote to the head of the HSBC Bank objecting to the closure of the local branch later this year.
This is the reply, addressed to secretary Ian Parry, the chamber has just received from a senior executive:
Dear Mr Parry
Thank you for your letter dated 2 December, to which l am replying on behalf of Mr Stuart Gulliver, our Group Chief Executive. I trust you will accept my response as Head of Customer Relations for the bank. May I please assure you that Mr Gulliver is aware of the concerns you have raised about the forthcoming closure of our Llangollen branch.
I appreciate that the decision to close this branch has come as a disappointment to you and your members who use the facilities. We do take our commitment to local communities very seriously and it is never an easy decision to make when closing a part of our business. It was therefore only after careful consideration and with great regret that we made the difficult decision to close the branch.We constantly monitor the levels of activity at our branches and use this information to make decisions about how we are represented. At Llangollen, we have very carefully assessed the sustainability of the premises, where the lease has expired, and undertaken a full study of customer activity at the branch with an evaluation of the options available to us that might help to restore a healthy level of business.
Unfortunately, the branch is simply not achieving the level of business required and we therefore have taken the decision to close.While we recognise the value of our services to our Llangollen customers, we also have a commitment to managing our business sustainably, efficiently and cost effectively, for the beneñt of both our customers and our shareholders.
Changing banking habits mean that our customers are increasingly using telephone and internet banking, with a knock-on effect on the footfall within our branch network. In fact, more people will do business with us today on the internet and through our call centres than will visit our entire branch network. Sometimes, as is the case with Llangollen, we will make a decision to close a branch in response to these changing banking patterns.We are very conscious of the impact a branch closure can have on some of our customers and We are determined to do as much as possible to limit the impact of this closure on the local community. Our branch staff` are speaking to our customers, advising them on alternative ways of banking such as using the internet or automating incoming payments, to reduce the reliance on these facilities.
Thank you again for taking the time to share your concerns with us. Again, I am sorry that we have had to take this very difficult decision, but I hope that I have explained both the reasons for it, and the steps We are taking to help those customers who are affected.
David LewisHead of Customer Relations