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‘No signs of ending’

Ten UK bank branches close each week
Ryan Fletcher, Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Every week more than ten high street bank branches close across the UK.


According to research from consumer group Which? more than 550 branches are to be shut this year alone.


More than 1,000 branches have already closed since 2015.


The closures are saving lenders millions but mean older and more vulnerable customers have further to travel to get to the bank.


The shut downs also pose problems to small businesses who deal in cash.


Barclays, Lloyds, RBS, Santander and HSBC closed a combined total of 2,809 branches between 2011 and 2016, with the rate of closures increasingly sharply over the past two years.


Last week Barclays announced it will close 54 branches.


Earlier this year HSBC confirmed 117 branches will be closing, while in March state-owned RBS announced plans to close 180 branches across the UK and Ireland, putting around 1,000 jobs at risk.


In April, Lloyds said 100 UK branches will go, along with 325 jobs.


Unite national officer Rob MacGregor said the demise of local banks was harmful to communities.


“The continuous stream of branch closures announced by the UK’s retail bank branches appears to show no signs of ending,” he said.


“The industry must halt these endless branch closure programs and open their eyes to what these closures are doing to rural communities, their disabled customers and the small business customers who depend on access to a local branch.


“It’s important to remember that bank branches, like pubs and post offices, are integral to community life.”


Director of consumer group Fairer Finance, James Daley, agreed.


He said, “Banks have to realise they have a social responsibility as well as a responsibility to their shareholders, and I think they need to hold on for longer before closing these branches.


“Bit by bit, a growing number of people are becoming financially excluded and I’m worried nobody is keeping an eye on that.”





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