HSBC Bank Malta is shutting down eight branches in the country by the end of the year as part of a plan to increase its focus on digital banking.
The branches in Birzebbuga, Cospicua, Fgura, Hamrun, Marsascala, St Julian's and St Paul's Bay will close by the end of 2019. The Balzan branch is to merge with its Qormi ‘flagship' branch, according to local media.
The bank also announced "subject to MUBE agreement, a reduction in roles within the organisation on a voluntary basis".
Customers are changing the way they use financial services and HSBC Malta is taking the right actions to respond to this"
The bank will maintain self-service ATM and deposit machines in any locality where a branch will close.
The bank's branches in Valletta, Mosta, Paola, Sliema and Victoria (Gozo) will provide more services, parking for customers and, subject to consultation with the Malta Union of Bank Employees (MUBE), will open for longer hours.
These branches will be supported by four new Wealth Management Centres which will be located in Birkirkara, Mosta, Paola and Swieqi branches providing extended access to specialist advisors, affording customers more flexibility and convenience.
HSBC will continue to operate full-service branches in Birkirkara, Gżira, Swieqi, Rabat, Żejtun and Żurrieq and invest in customer service centres in Mellieħa, Żabbar, Żebbuġ and San Ġwann.
Andrew Beane, chief executive officer, HSBC Bank Malta said: "Customers are changing the way they use financial services and HSBC Malta is taking the right actions to respond to this. We are delivering enhanced digital solutions, a modernised branch network with new wealth management centres, and more flexible access to a range of self-service solutions.
"With the closure of some branches, this will all be delivered through a more cost effective operating model which will help us mitigate the long-term impact of negative interest rates on the bank's profitability in Malta."