A brand new HSBC branch will open in Douglas next week, in a move that, for the first time, sees the bank establish a high street presence on Strand Street.

The branch in Ridgeway Street, where the bank has been for 25 years, closes its doors for the final time this Friday.

The new premises then open to customers on Monday (July 31).

‘We recently carried out a real estate and branch review of the bank’s network, and while we identified that the Douglas branch was due for a refurbishment, we took the opportunity to review whether the existing branch was in the right location,’ said Adam Bellfield, HSBC’s head of wealth and personal banking.

‘An opportunity to move to the high street was identified and we are very excited about opening our new branch on Strand Street.

‘The new branch is the result of a substantial investment and comprehensive refurbishment programme and has been designed to offer significantly improved, modern banking facilities for our customers and the island community.’

The bank says the new branch will feature a spacious layout, with an open-plan banking hall downstairs with counter service and a range of automated self-service and interactive equipment.

Upstairs, there will be a suite of more private meetings rooms, customer booths and a dedicated ‘Premier’ space, designed to offer customers a more personal service.

‘The Strand Street location in the main shopping area will be more convenient and our teams will be more accessible to support customers with all of their banking needs,’ added Mr Bellfield.

HSBC’s premises in Ridgeway Street were bigger than the new premises and the opening of the new branch comes about 18 months after it shut the Ramsey branch.

In the past 15 to 20 years, the Manx banking industry has shrunk significantly.

The bank is putting a positive spin on the news.

Investment in a new branch bucks the trend of recent years which has seen banks closing buildings throughout their networks, citing a falling number of customers using branch-only banking amid a shift towards online transactions.

HSBC will be closing two branches on Jersey next year, but Adam said the plan was always to invest in new central premises in Douglas: ‘HSBC remains committed to offering a full banking proposition in the Isle of Man, and we’ve developed a model that provides islanders with both the opportunity for face-to-face servicing as well as online banking products and services.’

Opening hours at the counter of the new branch will be extended by 30 minutes a day during the week, part of the bank’s review that reflects when customers visit the branch. The bank likes to be active within the community.

‘We sponsor the Junior Achievement Company Programme, which enables secondary school children to develop their entrepreneurial skills and closely aligns with our core focus on supporting future skills, education, and employability skills for future generations,’ said Adam.

‘We are very proud of the recent island success with students from St Ninian’s represented the Isle of Man at the European Junior achievement awards, where they won top prize in the Student Company of the Year in innovation category.’

HSBC has three island charities, Manx SPCA, RNLI and the Alzheimer’s Society, which it supports with volunteering and fund-raising efforts.

‘Community and volunteering are extremely important to the bank and we are proud to get involved and make a lasting difference. We encourage our people to be actively involved in the community and have a dedicated global HSBC volunteering site connecting our people to local volunteering opportunities,’ he said.

The new Strand Street branch will be hosting three open days next month – a mortgage open say on August 11, financial planning say on August 17, and a back to school day on August 24.

Adam said they were designed to support islanders who would like to talk about different aspects of their financial wellbeing and no appointments will be necessary.

‘Financial wellbeing is important because it’s essentially everyday money management,’ he said. ‘It’s an integral life skill for everyone, regardless of age, and we hope that by starting early, with support such as our back to school and financial planning days, in addition to our online financial education hub, that we can support islanders, parents and children with tools to manage their finances.

‘Everything from the basics such as how to budget, how to save, how bank accounts work, opening a child’s current and savings account, through to more sophisticated medium and long-term wealth planning. Importantly, equipping people with the sound knowledge base needed to manage their finances for now and in the future.’