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Banks close 2,900 branches in three years, says Which?

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A Barclays branchImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Branches are shutting at an alarming charge, says Which?

About 60 bank branches are closing each month with RBS shutting essentially the most, client group Which? has warned.

It discovered that 2,868 branches may have closed between 2015 and the tip of 2018, with the quantity accelerating this yr.

It known as the pattern “alarming” and stated many individuals had been left with out correct entry to companies.

But banks stated their branches had been dropping clients as extra individuals banked on-line.

As said by Which?, the worst offenders are:

  • RBS, which is able to close 350 of its personal branches in 2015-2018, in addition to 638 NatWest branches and 35 Ulster Bank branches
  • Lloyds, which is closing 366 of its personal branches, 87 Bank of Scotland branches and 55 Halifax branches
  • And HSBC, which is able to close 440.

By area, Which? stated Scotland had been worst hit, with 368 branches resulting from have shut by the tip of 2018.

That was adopted by the South East (361), the North West (353) and South West (327)

Which? cash knowledgeable Gareth Shaw stated: “While the decision is clearly a commercial one for a bank to take, it is also crucial that banks do recognise the needs of their customers and the communities they serve, before simply shutting their doors – and their customers out.”

In 2015 banks signed as much as the Access to Banking Standard – an industry-wide settlement that they have to should seek the advice of with clients about closures and inform them of different companies.

But Which? stated that whereas Post Offices and cellular banking vans had been typically instructed, they didn’t provide the identical vary of companies or comfort as branches.

Meanwhile it stated many individuals “cannot” or don’t wish to use on-line companies.

An RBS spokesman stated: “Since 2014 the variety of clients utilizing our branches throughout the UK has fallen by 40% and cellular transactions have elevated by 73% over the identical interval.

“As customers continue to change the way they bank with us, we must change the way we serve them, so we are investing in our branches and re-shaping our network, replacing traditional bricks and mortar branches with alternative ways to bank.”

Image caption Rose Ainsworth, 83, typically has to stroll for an hour to gather her pension

Until not too long ago, Rose Ainsworth had 4 banks and a submit workplace inside a five-minute stroll of her entrance door in Llandysul, Wales.

Today, they’ve all gone.

Unable to drive, 83-year-old Mrs Ainsworth, who has osteoporosis, now has a 30 mile (48km) spherical journey by way of a number of buses to entry her nearest banking companies.

The different different is to seize her strolling sticks and try the lengthy stroll to the relocated submit workplace – a four sq m (43 sq ft) plastic kiosk subsequent to the check-out tills at an edge-of-town grocery store.

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A Lloyds spokesman stated branches performed an essential function in clients’ lives, however added: “It is important to have branches in the right places, where there is customer demand.”

A spokesman for UK Finance, a banking group, stated choices to close branches had been solely ever taken in spite of everything different choices – like decreasing opening hours and workers numbers – had been exhausted.

“Technology is not for everybody which is why all the major banks offer day-to-day banking services through 11,500 Post Office branches,” it added.

Banks have additionally been shutting money machines at a speedy charge.

In January, Which? recognized greater than 200 communities in Britain with poor ATM provision, or no money machines in any respect.

It comes as banks search to chop prices and the argues there are too many ATMs in locations they aren’t wanted.

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