Post Office Ltd agrees retail partnership with HSBC

Britain’s Post Office Ltd has won another contract to extend the range of banking access it can provide in post offices. Banking giant HSBC has sealed a partnership that will see its nine million customers able to access their bank account at post office counters across the UK free of charge from Spring 2013.

HSBC said customers of its phone and Internet bank, First Direct, would also be able to access their accounts through post offices under the deal.

The partnership will mean HSBC customers will be able to withdraw money, deposit cash and cheques and make balance enquiries at 11,500 Post Office outlets.

Paula Vennels, chief executive of Post Office Ltd, said: “The new partnership comes as the Post Office embarks on the biggest network investment in its history to both maintain and modernize its unrivaled estate.

“The agreement means that 95% of all UK debit cardholders will have access to their money at Post Office counters,” she added.

HSBC said linking up with the Post Office meant a big expansion in access for its customers on top of its own network of 1,200 branches and 3,600 ATMs.

Brian Robertson, chief executive officer of HSBC Bank plc, said: “We recognize that our customers like to bank in a variety of different ways. This new partnership allows us to provide them with an additional opportunity to access their HSBC bank accounts at Post Office counters.”

Post Office Ltd has been looking to extend its offering of access to banks as part of its effort to bring in new sources of revenue to fortify its finances as it heads towards the goal of mutualisation.

This time last year the company extended its banking services to Royal Bank of Scotland Group customers, which included opening access at postal counters to customers of Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and Ulster Bank.

Last month, Post Office Ltd extended its partnership with the Bank of Ireland through to 2023.

With its latest partnership, Post Office Ltd said 80% of UK debit cardholders can now access their accounts through post offices.

“Good news”

Consumer Focus, the national consumer watchdog in the UK, said it was “extremely good news” for Post Office Ltd to forge links with HSBC.

The watchdog said a third of bank and building society branches have closed in the last 15 years, and pointed out there were now more post offices in the UK than branches of all bank and building societies combined.

The organisation said Santander was now the only major bank operating in the UK not to allow all its customers to access their accounts via postal counters.

Andy Burrows, head of post offices at Consumer Focus, said there were “considerable benefits” for HSBC customers in its partnership with Post Office Ltd.

“The Post Office network is perfectly placed to offer customers face-to-face counter service and can be a lifeline for bank customers in rural areas,” he said. “It also provides a shot in the arm for the Post Office by increasing the number of people who will use its network.”

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