Dec 12, 2019

Flaw highlighted in HSBC bank scheme for homeless

An HSBC initiative to provide bank accounts to homeless people has been criticised for requiring potential customers in central London to travel to a single branch offering the service in the capital's financial district. Homeless people are often unable to access the services and support they need because of their lack of a fixed address, making it almost impossible to open a bank account to receive a salary or benefits. Last week, HSBC announced it would offer basic "No fixed address" bank accounts for homeless people in 31 branches in UK cities, following a successful trial in Liverpool last year when 80 such accounts were opened. The bank has displayed advertisements in all 12 inner London boroughs with location-specific messages referencing homeless statistics: "1 in 62 people in Wandsworth are homeless. So struggle to open a bank account. Get a job. Or a home. We're helping to change that." Maxine Pritchard, head of financial inclusion and vulnerability at HSBC UK, said the bank was "Committed to offering support to those who would otherwise be excluded from banking".

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