UK banks told to pause branch closures during pandemic lockdown

LONDON, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority on Thursday told banks to rethink moves to close branches during the pandemic lockdown.

The FCA said banks should consider the impact of national pandemic restrictions on their ability to comply with regulatory guidance on closing branches, including consulting customers affected.

“We are concerned that these activities could have significant consequences for customers. It may be harder than usual to reach all customers under the current restrictions and engage with them on closure proposals effectively,” the FCA said in a statement.

Earlier this month HSBC said it plans to axe 82 branches in Britain after a drop in footfall across its retail network and a surge in digital banking during the pandemic. (Reporting by Huw Jones, Editing by Iain Withers)