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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 June, 2004, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Have your say: bank branches

High Street Bank HSBC has announced it is cutting 3,500 jobs across the UK in an effort to cut costs.

HSBC - which made a record profit of 6.9bn in 2003 - has also said it will employ an extra 1000 staff across its branch network.

Meanwhile, Alliance & Leicester is to close 46 of its branches, blaming it on the rise in popularity of internet banking.

We asked you how much you valued your local branch, and if you could cope without it. This is what you had to say:

All my bills are paid by direct debit and I move money between accounts electronically. There are no more standing order forms to complete, so therefore no more bank errors either.

I only go to the branch these days for transactions I cannot do remotely, like opening a new account, or if I happen to be in town.

I like not having to wait in a queue, not putting up with inconvenient opening times, not having to listen to the sales pitch of the counter staff trying to push the latest link-up with a life company, and not having to worry about parking.

I am quite happy not interacting with staff, and internet security does not worry me because I understand the security that encryption, anti-virus programs and firewalls provide.

Internet banking is wonderful and has allowed me the freedom to manage my money in a way that suits me. That said, I would not want to see branches disappear completely, because they are valuable to technophobes and to people who prefer human contact.
James Ross

I am sick to death of talking to either a machine or someone who has a limited grasp of English!

My wife and I have a joint account, and recently contacted our bank asking that they send only one set of statements (they insist of sending two copies). When I eventually got to speak to a human being on the customer service line he could not understand what I meant.

I relish the opportunity to attend a branch and have my needs met. Please do not add to my grey hairs and take this service away. It is certainly not the way forward and after almost 30 years, I would be very tempted to move our account!
Val Ward

I only use the branch in order to pay cash in. How am I supposed to do that over the internet? It looks to me like I will have to move my account to another bank.
Tony Phipps

I have held a bank account with my current provider for over 15 years and not stepped foot into any branch in over 10 years.

I find telephone and internet banking far more convenient. Perhaps I am lucky not to have needed the direct face-to-face contact with my bank. With the current advances in technology and computers, why does it still take over three working days to clear a cheque?
Denis Robinson

I do use online banking, but there are times when I find I get better results by talking to someone from my bank, usually by telephone.

Recently, having used a branch in a different town, I had a problem and could not find out the telephone number for the branch in question.

As a former news reporter, I know that I am resourceful enough to find a way to get information.

Having been told the same unhelpful piece of information four times by the so-called personal banker at one of my bank's call centres, I resorted to going into my local branch in person, where a bank teller was able to give me the help I needed to resolve my problem.

So, yes, in this world of invisible advisors reading from scripts, unable to deal with any deviations from the piece of paper under their noses, there is a very big need for informed human beings in the local branch who are able to actually help their customer.
Pat Burrows

Branch closures are not being done to exploit new technology, since they have been doing it for many years before online banking.

I do not drive, and my nearest branch is a mile or so away, and always full.

I will not use the web for banking because it is unreliable through my computer; and I fear hacking, viruses, and checkable histories.

Nothing in the history of banking convinces me that their use of technology is 100% trustworthy, and they could be ripped off for millions.

I would support online access extended through post offices and street ATMs, with professional aid if need be.
Ralph Gee

The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.

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HSBC bank slashes 3,500 UK jobs
17 Jun 04 |  Business
A&L blames internet for closures
16 Jun 04 |  Business
Local anger over HSBC jobs switch
18 Jun 04 |  West Yorkshire
List of A&L branches closing
19 Jun 04 |  Moneybox

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