Over 200 Main Street bank branches are the ‘last in town’
Over 200 Main Street bank branches ‘last in town’ as fears grow over access to cash for seniors
- MPs wrote to major banks to find out how much they have left due to closures
- Six largest banks and mortgage lenders 5,069 branches left between them
- Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Halifax, has the most branches
More than 200 bank branches across the country are the “last in town,” the figures show.
Following an alarming rate of branch closures – and with 100 more due before next year – MPs wrote to the big banks to find out how much they had left.
The street giants have also been asked to reveal how many of these branches are the last remaining bank in the city amid concerns that vulnerable customers and small businesses face not having access to cash.
Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Halifax, has the most branches with 1,567
NatWest said 60% of its retail customers now use digital channels exclusively
The six largest banks and the country’s largest mortgage lender, Nationwide, have 5,069 branches, of which 213 are the last in the city.
Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Halifax, has the largest number of branches with 1,567 and more than half the total number of the city’s last banks with 118.
NatWest has 833 branches, 46 of which are in communities where the nearest alternative is a mile and a half or more away.
Barclays has not disclosed how many of its 738 branches are the last in town, while HSBC, Santander and TSB have 19 between them. Nationwide has 643 branches and 30 are the last in town.
All the banks blamed the branch closures on the rise of online banking. They said this resulted in a drop in footfall and that they should prioritize investments in digital services. In his response, HSBC boss Ian Stuart said the number of customers using its branches has fallen by almost 40% in the past five years.
He added that nine in ten interactions with customers take place by phone, internet or smartphone, while 99% of cash withdrawals are made at an ATM.
Matt Hammerstein, managing director of Barclays UK, said less than 10% of all transactions take place at a branch, while NatWest said 60% of its retail customers now use digital channels exclusively.
Lloyds said the pandemic has accelerated the trend towards online banking. But experts warn that millions of people who don’t use the internet are at risk of being left behind.
Natalie Ceeney, Access to Cash Review, said: “There are a lot of people who no longer use cash or visit bank branches, but there are over five million people who depend on it. cash and where bank branches are vital. “
Barclays has not disclosed how many of its 738 branches are the last in town, while HSBC, Santander and TSB have 19 between them.
Mel Stride MP, Chairman of the Treasury Committee, said: “For many – especially small businesses, the elderly and vulnerable – access to a bank branch is vital to accessing cash.
“While it is encouraging that Main Street Banks have engaged so positively with the committee, we note that there are over 200 ‘last in town’ bank branches across the country.
“We are concerned that if these access points are closed, vital access to cash and banking services will be beyond the reach of many communities. “
The city’s watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, is considering new rules to prevent banks from closing branches to protect access to cash. Banks could be fined or prevented from closing their doors.