Thursday, 22 August 2013

Changing face of the British High street - The closure of many bank branches is imminent

Over the next decade 6,000 High street bank branches are set to disappear as more and more customers use online banking facilities. Bank branches currently account for around 60% of banking costs including salaries, rent and maintenance. With a growing number of customers using telephone and online banking, local branches are becoming obsolete.  
In 2012 348 banks and building societies closed within the UK and experts are predicting this number to escalate in the coming years. Property advisory firm Jones Lang LaSalle have warned that by 2020 half of the banks within Europe will face closure.   
Currently in Britain there are 11,600 bank branches on the high street. With the predicted closure of so many how will this affect local towns in the future? A particular concern is how the closures will affect the elderly..... Those most likely to be without home internet and who struggle with automated telephone banking services and foreign call centres. Even for those confident in using online banking facilities when a problem occurs many find it far easier and less stressful to get the issue resolved in branch than over the telephone. Many people also enjoy the social aspect of going into their local bank branch and speaking to a member of staff face to face.

HSBC has announced branches in Cheshire, Newport, Yorkshire, Gwent and Leicestershire will shortly be closed, bring the total number of closures since June to 25. RBS and Natwest has closed 60 branches and Barclay's has closed 30 this year   

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