Not a year and a half, maybe a year and two months max. They deposited all my bonuses within about 6 weeks from what I recall, not the full 6 month limit. CIBC needed a year when I did similar offers, at least with HSBC you can get interest on the $5000 in a GIC or savings account. They regularly have deals on GICs shen it's time to renew as well, it's really not that bad if you can afford to park $5000 for that time, it's not like you're completely losing out on interest with this offer.
I really haven't had any issues with them over the past year or so since I did the offer. Branches might be sparse, but you can use any ATM on the exchange network and there are tons of those.