Constituency of 100,000 people in UK without bank branch, third branched closed in country
Topics: BANK BRANCH UK
Towns and cities have lost a third of their branches in the past five years, falling from 9,803 to 6,549.
In the Yorkshire constituency of Wentorth and Deane, home to a number of small towns and villages, residents instead have to travel to nearby Rotherham and Barnsley to find a bank branch.
It lost its final three branches between January 2015 and August 2019, leaving 98,000 people without access to physical banking services.
The closures have been driven by the four largest banks, which were responsible for 77per cent of all physical branches shuttering.
The worst was RBS Group, the owner of Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest. The group shut 1,050 outlets, or 56 per cent of its total, between January 2015 and August 2019.
HSBC also reduced its branch numbers by 42 per cent, with 442 closures. Barclays shut at least 481, 33 per cent of its total.
Lloyds Banking Group, which owns Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank, cut 25 per cent of its branches, equating to 569 offices.
Nationwide closed just 4 per cent of its branches in the period, and has promised not to shut any of its outlets until May 2021 if it means leaving a community without a bank.
Which? found the worst-hit areas for branch closures were mostly rural. The constituencies of North East Derbyshire and Stoke-on-Trent North both lost six branches in the period, or 86 per cent of their banking network.
The Central Devon region lost 13 branches, 81 per cent of its total, while the Welsh constituency of Carmarthen East and Dinefwr saw 80 per cent of its banking network cut, with 12 branches having closed.
Of the surviving physical bank branches, 298 are only open four days a week or fewer. Of those, 11 only open their doors one day a week and 45 for two.
The big banks have tried to make up for closing physical branches by sending bank vans, known as “mobile branches”, into affected areas at specific times.
However, Post Office banking is restricted compared to a standard bank branch, and the number of these is also falling. There were more than 18,000 Post Offices in 2000, compared to 11,503 in March 2019. ■