HSBC condemned for answering just 6% of calls to Welsh helpline in Welsh
HSBC’s treatment of the Welsh language has been condemned after it was revealed that just 6% of calls to its Welsh-language helpline were answered in Welsh.
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales MS, said the bank’s poor record revealed how it failed to prioritise the Welsh language and that he, as a customer, was very unhappy with the service being provided.
He made his comments to José Carvalho, Head of Wealth and Personal Banking at HSBC UK, who was appearing before the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations committee to defend the bank’s decision to discontinue its Welsh-language helpline.
Earlier this month, HSBC announced it will no longer be offering a Welsh speaking customer service phone line, claiming there had been a drop in users.
The bank has claimed that after an in depth review it found the Welsh speaking line was “no longer being fully utilised” with only 22 calls each day – compared to 18,000 calls to its English-speaking lines.
From January 15th 2024, only English-speaking agents will be available to answer any customers banking with HSBC.
Mr Gruffydd said: “As only 6% of calls to the helpline – just one a day – were actually answered in Welsh is it any surprise that Welsh speakers turned their backs on the service? You never really had a Welsh-language service in the first place and that was your business decision to do this.
“As a customer, I am not a priority of yours. How do you think that makes me feel as a Welsh speaker?”
Mr Carvalho said the bank had 600,000 customers in Wales and many were “very happy” with the services provided.
He added that the plans to provide a call-back service within three days would improve the service for Welsh-language customers: “It is an unsustainable service at the moment and not yielding the outcome that we want. The alternative service will yield more with all calls dealt with in Welsh. That is at the heart of the decision.”
But Mr Gruffydd hit back, saying: “How have you promoted this service? I have a bank card but the Welsh-language hotline is not on that, I have an app but there are no details on that. Why are you surprised not many people use it?”
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