I want to make sure the customers are happy,' Michael Geoghegan, chief executive of HSBC, said in an interview with White Collar last week. Well, as far as this customer is concerned, things aren't too bad. The bank is secure, reliable and the staff are friendly and polite. However, I would like to see more branches. When I was small, HSBC was everywhere, just like 7-Elevens today. When I first started work there was an HSBC downstairs from my home and another on the corner of my office building. But the good old days are gone. The branch close to home has been turned into a supermarket and the one near the office no longer has tellers, only a row of ATM machines. If you want to be served by a real person, either you have to be a premium banking member with millions to invest or have a mortgage. If you live in Tuen Mun or Tin Shui Wai, then, sorry, branches are few and far between. But it's becoming like that on Hong Kong Island, too. A friend who lived in Wan Chai and studied in Tin Hau remembers how he used to pass six HSBC branches on his 15-minute walk to college. Revisiting the area recently, he found no branches on the route. The nearest ATM machine was in St Paul's Hospital. Geoghegan believes the new generation of customers may prefer not to visit branches but do their banking by mobile phone or on computer over the internet. White Collar, however, believes in branches. Older customers want to deal with a person instead of a machine, and some services - such as safe deposit boxes - can only be provided by branches. Branches provide direct contact, the best way for customers to let the bank know what they want. While HSBC keeps closing its branches and cutting this link, its rivals are doing the opposite. Bank of East Asia had 90 branches 10 years ago. Today, it has 140. Bank of China (Hong Kong), formed by the merger of smaller mainland lenders in 2001, proudly declares it has 270 branches and 470 ATMs - the largest network in the city. Citibank, which only had 20 branches 10 years ago, has expanded to 34, and its Asia boss, Stephen Bird, vows to increase it further to 50 this year. We couldn't find out how many branches HSBC has from browsing the bank's website, but further searches elsewhere revealed there are about 220. Hong Kong Monetary Authority figures show there were 1,405 bank branches in Hong Kong 10 years ago, dropping to 1,220 in 2006. However, by the end of last year this had risen to 1,293, showing a trend of expansion. This is good news for White Collar, as there are more bank branches close to home - not HSBC, but mainland lenders China Construction Bank on the corner and Bank of Communications across the street. I have opened accounts with both. Besides the convenience of their location, their quality of service is good and keeps improving to match international players. So, Mr Geoghegan, if you want to make sure this customer is happy, please give me a branch next door.