The banking network shrinks by 267 branches in three months
The banking network is reduced by 267 branches in three months: could your local branch be the next one on the chopping block?
- The branch network decreased by 4.55% between April and June of this year
- Big High Street banks have cut more than 1,000 branches since pandemic began
- Lloyds, Halifax and Virgin Money set to close looming branches
The UK branch network fell 4.55% in just three months earlier this year as banks continued to shut down across the UK.
Between April and June, 267 branches closed, according to FCA data, leaving only 5,599.
It’s no secret that bank branches have disappeared from the main streets of Britain at an all-time high in recent years.
Big High Street banks have cut more than 1,000 branches since the pandemic forced the first lockdown in March 2020.
Since January 2015, bank branches have been closing at a rate of 50 per month, according to the pressure group Which ?, but the pandemic seems to have exacerbated the trend.
Big High Street banks have cut more than 1,000 branches since the pandemic forced the first foreclosure in March 2020, Which? Says, with many more expected in the coming months.
Closure of bank branches
Next year, Lloyds Banking Group will close 48 other Lloyds and Halifax bank branches in England and Wales.
All closures will take place between January and April, with the affected sites being Balham, Christchurch, Dorking, Prescot, Sevenoaks and Windsor.
Virgin Money has also announced plans to close 31 bank branches and cut around 112 jobs as it seeks to move more of its operations online.
Among others, the Virgin Money branches in Beverley, Blackburn, Lincoln, Macclesfield, Nuneaton, Whitby and Wick are all set to close.
Earlier this year, HSBC announced it would close 82 branches this year and cut counter services in others as it focuses on temporary hubs “pop-up” in a digital reader.
In the spring, Santander announced it would close 111 banks across the UK by the end of August
Will the closures continue?
While the demise of bank branches will be less of a concern for some, those less tech savvy, older customers and small businesses are watching with growing concern that their local branch may be next.
Currently, only 60 percent of the population live within 2 km of a bank branch while 12.5 percent live more than 5 km from a branch, according to FCA data.
“For customers without Internet access who prefer face-to-face banking, the choices are dwindling and the hours of operation narrower,” Hagger said.
“There have been initiatives like mobile banking vans and branch-sharing banks, and some of these lower-cost alternatives are likely to grow.
“I think it’s inevitable that branch office networks will continue to shrink as online technology becomes the norm for more and more customers – but that’s hardly comforting to the elderly who don’t understand. or don’t trust the internet.
In March, Santander announced plans to close 111 branches by the end of August 2021 in response to customers’ ongoing transition to mobile and online banking.
One in four people say they would avoid local branches out of preference for a digital-only experience, according to new research from analytics leader SAS.
He also revealed that more than one in eight bank customers started using a digital service or mobile app for the first time during the pandemic.
Looking ahead, there is little evidence to suggest that the trend for online banking will slow down either.
Nearly two-thirds of industry executives believe branch-based lenders will be “dead” within the next five years, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit for financial software company Temenos.
The SAS study also found that among those who now use digital banking services, nearly one in five plan to use a digital service or mobile app in addition to in-person visits, with more than a quarter having the intention to make digital a permanent replacement for in-person visits. .
Andrew Hagger, Founder of MoneyComms, said: “I think the covid pandemic has seen banks refocus their attention on the viability of their branch networks after covid, with more customers transacting online rather than crossing their banks. doors.
“Banks will look to branches which are now less viable due to the drop in footfall, especially if they have another outlet nearby. “
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