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Carrington Walker Weston Mercury Published: August 4, 2021

A banking branch has confirmed it will soon stop serving customers over-the-counter and offer a digital-only service.

HSBC confirmed to the Mercury that it would convert its Weston High Street bank into a ‘digital service branch’ equipped with self-serving equipment ‘to best serve customers needs’.

The decision means people may have to travel to alternative branches, such as Portishead’s, for their preferred service.

The bank’s regional director explained that vulnerable customers would be given advice in September on how to use the incoming services.

James Stock said: “We are very conscious that there will be some customers who are less confident or comfortable using self-service options, and we would like to assure them that we will not be leaving any of our customers high and dry.

“We are contacting vulnerable customers by phone to discuss the forthcoming change and will be supporting them with alternative ways to do their banking.

“Our branch staff will also be on hand to help in the banking hall rather than behind a screen, to explain and also to educate customers on how to complete their transaction.”

Mr Stock added that Weston customers can use the Post Office to complete day-to-day transactions, though some are not happy with this decision.

A long-standing HSBC customer living in the town’s South Ward, who wished to remain anonymous, believes that the change reflects a lack of respect for the branch’s customers.

They told the Mercury: “We all understand that change occurs but HSBC needs to understand service provisions have to be respected.

“I fear that the digital service will allow for complaints to fall through the cracks – recently, I had an issue with my capital banking service which took two weeks to resolve because there was no practical help over the phone.

“Weston is a growing town, it does not make sense to repurpose its branch while allowing smaller banks such as Portishead’s to stay the same.”

The change in service is expected to take place in November, though an official date has not been given.

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