Friday, 13 May 2016 08:40

Rural areas bear brunt of bank closures

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rural areas bear brunt of bank closures

Rural areas have borne the brunt of more than 600 bank branch closures over the past year.

Parts of south-west England, Scotland and Wales lost the most branches per head of population in the 12 months to April 2016.

Over the past year, the most branches were closed by the RBS Group (166), including NatWest; followed by HSBC (146).

Other banks which closed branches were Barclays; Santander; the Lloyds Group, including Halifax and Bank of Scotland; and the Co-operative Bank.

The figures were obtained by the BBC Breakfast programme.

Britain's High Street banks are represented by the British Banker's Association (BBA).

BBA chief executive Anthony Browne said more people were adopting digital services to manage our money without having to travel to a branch.

"Banking is in the midst of a customer-led revolution," he said.

"It is important, however, that customers still have access to banking services if a local bank branch closes for commercial reasons."

An industry protocol on branch closures had played an important role in ensuring that communities could access alternative ways to bank, said Mr Browne.

The association was look forward to working with Professor Russel Griggs who is reviewing how the protocol is working in practice and whether it can be improved.

Professor Griggs said: "It's vital that the protocol meets its aim of minimising the impact of bank branch closures on customers and local communities.

"This review will not only be looking at how the processes behind the protocol are working in practice, but also crucially the outcomes that they are delivering."

Last autumn, a report by the Campaign for Community Banking highlighted what it described as an accelerating rate of bank branch closures.

The campaign is a coalition of national organisations concerned about bank branch closures, community sustainability, financial exclusion and carbon emissions.

People in this conversation

  • Guest (Philip Bowell MBE)

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    As a local councillor in Steyning, we have seen the Halifax close a couple of years ago, Barclays go down to part-time opening, ear**** this year Lloyds and now our last bank HSBC has announced it will close in August. There is a lot of work going to be done by the local post office, including an upgrade to a full branch, but it cannot provide all the services a bank does, and this will hit businesses the most. Businesses especially will be hard hit and for a rural community, it is not good.

    from Steyning, Steyning, West Sussex BN44, UK
  • Guest (Philip Bowell MBE)

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    In the last 18 months, we have seen the loss of Halifax and Lloyds, HSBC closes in August and our last bank Barclays, is currently down to 3 part time days per week. That leaves the Post Office and 1 old ATM machine. Steyning is the largest member of a community of parishes that includes Ashurst, Wiston, Bramber, Upper Beeding and Steyning, and all now with 1 part time bank. SME's are being encouraged to open in rural communities yet no facilities.

    from Steyning, West Sussex BN44, UK

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