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More than 1,000 bank branches shut as customers go online

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
14/12/2016
More than 1,000 high street banks have closed since January 2015 as footfall has fallen due to the rise in online banking.

HSBC has closed the largest number of branches, shutting down 321 outlets representing more than a quarter of its network in the past two years, according to research by campaign group Which?.

Smaller provider The Co-operative Bank has shut 117 branches, which is more than half of its network.

The regions with the most bank branch closures per 100,000 people are Wales, South West England and Scotland.

Bank closures

Here are the major high street banks’ branch closure numbers:

  • HSBC: 321 closures, 27% of network
  • RBS: 191 closures, 10% of network
  • Lloyds: 180 closures, 14% of network
  • Barclays: 132 closures, 8% of network
  • The Co-Operative Bank: 117 closures, 53% of network
  • Santander: 87 closures, 8% of network
  • TSB: 18 closures, 3% of network

Most of the banks cite the growth of online banking as the reason for closing branches. HSBC told Which? the number of visits to branches had fallen on average by 40% in the past five years as customers moved online.

In the past two years, the Post Office has also offered an alternative for bank customers to access some everyday bank services.

However, while 56% of adults used online banking last year, the campaign group said there are still around 20 million adults that don’t use it, some because they’re not online or because they have a poor broadband connection.

The research comes as a recent report found that banks could do more to support local communities when they shut branches and Which? said it’s important to ensure the needs of customers are being met when banks take such decisions.

Peter Vicary-Smith, Which? chief executive officer, said: “Access to the services necessary to make everyday banking possible should be simple and straightforward. We’ve seen some good examples of banks acting responsibly and in the interest of local communities when they close branches. However, banks can and must do a better job of working with their customers to understand their needs and those of the local community, especially when they are making changes to the services they offer or closing branches.”

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