UK loses 60 bank branches a month

Finance

The United Kingdom loses 60 bank branches a month, to the benefit of online banking, which makes it more difficult for people to access financial services.

The UK loses 60 bank branches a month, for the benefit of online banking, which makes it more difficult for people to access financial services, warns Friday the influential consumer association Which ?.

The association explains in a statement that since 2015, there have been no fewer than 2868 closures of bank branches that have been or are planned by the end of 2018.

The study shows that the phenomenon is accelerating since the number of closures for the current year should probably exceed that of 2017, which was 879.

Which? is concerned that it is becoming increasingly difficult for a Brit to find a ticket machine or access everyday banking services.

The closure of agencies associated with the disappearance of distributors could heavily penalize the 2.7 million people who use only cash in their daily lives.

Scotland has paid the heaviest price since 2015, not least because Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which has undergone heavy restructuring, is well established.

By bank, Natwest, which belongs to RBS, leads the closures, with 638 fewer branches, ahead of HSBC (440), Lloyds Banking Group (366), RBS (350) under its own banner, and Barclays (243).

Most major UK banks justify the shrinking of their network by the need to develop online banking, often in the face of strong competition and against the backdrop of extensive savings plans since the 2008 financial crisis.

Which? points out that while more and more Britons are using online or mobile banking, many people have not taken the plunge or prefer to go to a traditional agency.

“While this is a clearly commercial decision made by banks, it is crucial that they recognize the needs of their customers and the communities they serve before they simply shut down,” notes Gareth Shaw, a manager of Which ?.

The association also recalls that online banking systems are fragile, as recently demonstrated the failure of Visa in Europe and the fiasco of a change of software within the UK bank TSB that denied access on their behalf hundreds of thousands of customers for several days.

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