May 04 2013

HSBC Bank Oman shuts down 4 branches to 'optimize locations'

HSBC Bank Oman , the lender with the second largest branch network in the sultanate, has decided to close down four of its branches to 'optimise locations.'

Following its formation in June 2012, the bank's senior management carried out a comprehensive branch review resulting in the segmentation of the network into three categories - flagship, mid-market and community.

"The review was designed to ensure all branches are strategically placed to serve our customers and look for synergies between branches to optimise locations. As a result, we have decided to close down four branches [Ruwi, Qurm, Sohar and Thumrait Air Base] as they were all in close proximity to other HSBC Bank Oman branches," said Simon Cooper, chairman of HSBC Bank Oman , in the board of directors report submitted to the Muscat Securities Market (MSM).

"We remain focused on improving career development and employment opportunities for Omani nationals, managing operational risks in the branch network, ensuring the branch network operates more efficiently and establishing a solid foundation to serve our customers more effectively," said Cooper in the report.

In an e-mail reply to Muscat Daily queries, Alan Jarman, head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC Bank Oman , said that following the successful merger of OIB with HSBC Middle East's Oman operations in June 2012, and after careful assessment of the combined branch network, HSBC Bank Oman decided to merge the operations of four branches with effect from February 28, 2013.

"Each of the affected branches - Qurm, Ruwi, Sohar and Thumrait Air Base - was less than 2km from other HSBC Bank Oman branches. HSBC Bank Oman customers can carry out their banking at any branch in the sultanate and to minimise disruption, account numbers for customers of these branches remain unchanged. All employees in these locations have been relocated to other HSBC Bank Oman branches," Jarman said.

"The restructuring of the branch network forms part of the bank's commitment to serve its customers with the highest quality of service through its extensive branch network across the sultanate," he added.

Jarman said that the bank, which currently operates more than 130 ATMs, including more than 80 multifunction machines in high footfall locations, has identified five new locations where it will install ATMs during the second quarter of 2013.

© Muscat Daily 2013

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