The number of open bank branches has fallen – and more cuts are coming

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The number of bank branches has fallen with more than 8,500 closings across the UK in the past year alone.

The rise in online banking has been blamed for the loss of local branches, with Leicestershire losing hundreds since 2010.

The closures have raised concerns among the elderly or those unable to use the technology, who could be “cut off” from their money.

READ MORE: Barclays announces branch closure as more customers opt for online banking

An elderly resident said: “I can’t figure out the modern stuff. I also don’t want to switch to them because they make theft my personal risk instead of the banks.

“If you have an old phone, you can’t even get the app. Why should customers update their technology instead of banks update theirs? If a new bank came to my main street offering traditional services, I would go bust. “

But another added: “Unfortunately, personal service is low on a bank’s priority list, with profit at the top of the list. Personal service in a branch costs a lot more than the internet is. therefore the route they prefer.

“Sorry but you can’t fight the progress and it won’t be waiting for you.”

Hinckley & Bosworth and Melton have the smallest number of bank branches among the districts of Leicestershire, with only five each.

But the biggest drop since 2010 has been seen in Blaby, dropping from around 190 branches to just 10.

In Leicester and Leicestershire, the number of branches has fallen by 4% in the past year alone, from around 115 to 110.

Age UK Charity Director Caroline Abrahams said: “The scale of bank branch removal in recent years means communities across the country are being deprived of their money.



Fears are growing that people will be “cut off” from accessing their money

“The rapid evolution towards online banking in recent years has caused significant problems for many older customers, especially those with visual impairments and dexterity issues.

“As older people increasingly connect to the Internet, more than half of people aged 65 and over still do not use Internet banking services. When branch closures coincide with poor local transportation , a lack of ATMs and mobile black dots, it can become almost impossible for the elderly to manage their money independently.

Which? found that while 2020 saw the lowest number of branch closures (368) in several years, as banks put their plans on hold due to the pandemic, the number of closures planned for 2021 is already higher than ‘in 2020.

This year TSB will close 155 branches, HSBC will cut 82. Barclays is expected to close 63 branches and M&S Bank will close all of its in-store branches by the end or summer, when it will stop offering checking accounts. .

Which? CFO Gareth Shaw said: “Branch networks have continued to shrink over the past year despite the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) asking companies to reconsider closures, so it’s crucial that banks provide their customers with reasonable access to banking services.

“This is why the government must urgently push forward its bills to protect cash, which will make the financial regulator responsible for the treasury system.

“As part of these tasks, he should determine whether people’s access to cash is adversely affected by branch closures or restricted opening hours and take action if necessary.”

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