HSBC has announced plans to close 24 of its retail banking branches in India as the network plans to consolidate from 50 branches across 29 cities to 26 branches across 14 cities in a phased manner. The move accounts for less than 10% of HSBC's retail customer base in India.

The London headquartered bank said the decision was taken after a strategic review of its retail banking and wealth management (RBWM) business revealed that its customers are "increasingly using digital channels for their transactions".

HSBC to shut 24 retail branches in India after review shows customers preferred digital services
India is the fourth largest contributor to the HSBC Group Reuters

The move is expected to affect 300 of its employees, 1% of the 33,000 employees it has in the country. A HSBC spokesperson assured that "redeployment opportunities will be accorded to the affected employees".

Stuart P Milne, Group General Manager and Chief Executive Officer at HSBC India, said: "This move aims to position our RBWM business for the future, with the right mix of digital versus physical branch distribution. Customer expectations are changing rapidly and we need to adapt accordingly."

On the future of HSBC in India, Milne said: "India is a priority market for HSBC and we will continue to invest to achieve sustainable growth by supporting the needs of our customers." The bank added that India is the fourth largest contributor to the HSBC Group, with profit before tax of $606m (£415.8m, €539.92m) during the 2015 calendar year.

"HSBC's RBWM business is core to the bank's franchise in India and it will continue to invest in this business. For example, the bank will soon be announcing an expanded proposition to cater to its top tier clients and further technology deployments for the benefit of its retail customers," HSBC added.

The branches which will be closed include, the Chennai (Adyar branch), Delhi (Punjabi Bagh and Basant Lok branch), Guwahati branch, Indore branch, Jodhpur branch, Kolkata (Shakespeare Sarani, Howrah, Ultadanga, New Alipore and Salt Lake), Lucknow, Ludhiana, Mumbai (Thane branch), Mysore, Nagpur, Nasik, Patna, Pune (Deccan branch), Raipur branch, Surat branch, Trivandrum branch, Vadodara and Vishakhapatnam.

The consolidation follows HSBC starting the process of laying off 840 information technology employees in the UK on 16 May. The jobs were said to be outsourced to Poland, China and India. The moves are part of HSBC's first wave of job redundancies and are part of its three-year restructuring plan announced in 2015 that will eliminate 50,000 jobs worldwide.