CHARD'S HSBC is set to close, the bank has announced.

Today (February 25), the bank outlined plans to close 27 branches in 2020, including in High Street, Chard, which it says reflects the 'long-term change in the way customers are banking'.

The cuts will see HSBC keep 594 in the UK, with plans to invest almost £34m in the branches staying open, to install the latest technology as well as refurbishing and refreshing 49 sites.

Stuart Haire, HSBC UK’s head of retail banking and wealth management, said: “Retaining a sustainable branch network is extremely important to us and we need to ensure it is fit for the future.

"But, the way our customers bank with us has changed significantly over the last five to ten years, and that change is something we cannot ignore."

The firm said over the past five years, the number of customers using HSBC UK branches has fallen by a third, while nine in ten (90%) customers’ contact with the bank is now completed via the telephone, internet or smartphone.

“Almost every industry is affected by similar behavioural change and needs to work hard to address that - newspapers used to be delivered by paper boys and girls, or a paper would be collected from a shop, and now most people consume their news online," Mr Haire saud.

"Photographs that were once processed in a shop have now been replaced with digital cameras and online delivery.

“Plus, record and video shops are virtually obsolete now we are in a world full of digital streaming, and even mini-cab firms have had to adapt to competition from new digital-based operators. Life is evolving quickly.

“In the financial services industry many more customers are using mobile and internet banking than ever before, also interacting with us on social media over 85,000 times in the last 12 months.

"The upshot is that significantly fewer people are using our branches.

“The decision to close these branches will help to ensure a sustainable branch network for the future and allow us to continue to invest in it, as illustrated by the improvement to 49 branches in 2020, along with the continuing investments in our people and digital platforms.

“Our priority is now to work closely with our colleagues and customers.

"We will write to all affected customers to advise them of local alternatives, as well as offering them 1-2-1 sessions to help explain their options or provide help in setting up mobile or internet banking.

“By the end of 2020, HSBC UK will still have a large network of branches in the UK and will remain well positioned to serve its customers.”

HSBC UK customers, both retail and business, are also able to access their bank account and carry out their day-to-day banking in all 11,500 Post Office locations.