HSBC has revealed that it is conducting a review of its retail banking operations in New Zealand, Reuters reported, citing a bank spokesperson

In a separate statement, the lender also announced that it is reducing its UK branch network by 114 from April 2023. 

The developments come as the bank faces pressure from its largest shareholder Ping An to split Asian and Western operations to maximise profits.

“Like many organisations, HSBC regularly engages in business reviews to optimise our network operations for the long term,” the spokesperson was quoted by the news agency as saying. 

The review of New Zealand operations will not impact the lender’s wholesale banking business in the country. 

Explaining the rationale behind the branch closures, HSBC said that the use of bank branches by regular customers has fallen by 65% over the past five years. Footfall in 74% of closing branches has fallen by at least 50%. 

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By GlobalData

HSBC UK managing director of UK distribution Jackie Uhi said: “People are changing the way they bank and footfall in many branches is at an all-time low, with no signs of it returning. Banking remotely is becoming the norm for the vast majority of us.

“The decision to close a branch is never easy or taken lightly, especially if we are the last branch in an area, so we have invested heavily in our ‘post closure’ strategy, including providing free tablet devices to selected branch customers who do not already have a device to bank digitally, alongside one-to-one coaching to help them migrate to digital banking.”

Earlier this week, HSBC signed a $10bn deal with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to sell its Canadian operations.