HSBC will be closing seven branches in Malta and combining two further branches into a new Qormi flagship in an attempt to modernise and digitalise their services.
In a press release on the Malta Stock Exchange, HSBC announced a strategic plan to increase its focus on digital banking services and ‘to modernise its branch network’ which involves shutting down seven branches, opening up a flagship in Qormi as well as four new wealth management centres across the country.
The bank expects a reduction in roles within the organisation on a voluntary basis.
Those who will be affected by these closures will be offered voluntary redundancy schemes, subject to Union agreement.
These actions are being implemented to help mitigate the long-term impact of negative interest rates on HSBC’s profitability in Malta. The company has noted that branch banking will continue to be offered in the long term; however, what branches do for their customers and how and when they do it is changing and the bank has to change accordingly.
HSBC will make a further company announcement in due course.
In a statement, parliamentary secretary for the digital economy Silvio Schembri said he understands that business is shifting online. However, he urged the bank to consult with the communities that will be affected at first hand by the closing of the branches and said he hoped the opening of basic bank accounts will be expedited and made easier.
“The Parliamentary Secretariat welcomes HSBC Bank Malta plc pro-active stance in embracing and adapting to new trends within the digital scenario, which complement the government’s own digital policy,” he said.