Residents of Ross-on-Wye have expressed their sorrow and concern following the closure of yet another high street bank in their town, HSBC.

The closure marked a poignant day, leaving the town with just three remaining banks: Santander, Lloyds, and Nationwide.

In a series of posts on the Gazette’s Facebook page, residents voiced their dismay at the loss, with many pointing to the potential negative impacts on the town. The conversations highlighted the affection residents hold for the branch’s staff, as well as speculations about what might fill the now-empty premises.

Corinne Watkins and Didi Hill shared fond memories of the branch, especially its staff, expressing sadness for their future. 

Concerns over the replacement of the vacated space where mentioned in the thread, with Ed Hayes and Paul William Hayward, suggesting it might become another charity shop or estate agency. In response to this, Alexander J Mellor and Kirsty Coyne quipped it could also be another coffee shop or hairdressers.

Paul Stephens and Nick Stephens praised the bank for its exceptional service, both online and in-person, whilst wishing luck to the staff for their future. Margaret Sayce echoed these sentiments, calling the day of closure a “very sad day.”

The Gazette, last month, on the decision to close HSBC is part of a wider national strategy. The banking giant announced that 114 branches would be closing across the UK, a decision driven by a sharp decline in footfall and a significant shift in consumer banking habits towards online and mobile platforms.

Over the past five years, HSBC reported a 65 per cent decrease in physical branch visits. This digital migration was accelerated by the pandemic, with less than half of HSBC’s customers still actively using the branch network. The Ross-on-Wye branch was not immune to this trend, with a footfall reduction of over 50 per cent since 2017.

In place of physical branches, HSBC plans to provide a range of local support, including community pop-ups, self-service machines, digital support for customers, and use of the Post Office network. The bank plans to invest the savings from the closures into enhancing its digital and mobile services, and strengthening its network in key locations.