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New data reveals two thirds of UK’s bank branches have shut in 30 years

PUBLISHED: 10:08 16 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:07 16 November 2018

A former bank in Great Yarmouth up for sale. Picture: Liz Coates

A former bank in Great Yarmouth up for sale. Picture: Liz Coates

Archant

It has been revealed that nearly two thirds of the UK’s bank branch network has been lost over the past 30 years.

It has been revealed that nearly two thirds of the UK’s bank branch network has been lost over the past 30 years.

Analysis from Which? has shown that there are just 7,586 bank branches remaining in the UK, where in 1988 there were 20,583.

In Norfolk alone, 50 banks and building societies have closed in the past four years.

MORE: Bank branches in Norfolk and Waveney: How many have closed and where are they?

Some 13 NatWest, two Santander, three Lloyds, seven HSBC and six Barclays branches have closed in Norfolk and Waveney since 2015, excluding recently announced closures in locations including Wells and North Walsham.

Bank closures in the region have been described by residents as having a “traumatic effect”, with towns like Harleston being left with just one branch.

In recent years the market towns of Reepham, Loddon and Bungay have also been left without a single bank.

Data released today showed that 19% of people now live more than three kilometres from their nearest branch as the crow flies and nearly one in 10 people have to travel more than five kilometres.

A spokesman for trade association UK Finance said: “Bank branches play an important role in the life of local communities and decisions to close them are never taken lightly.

“Consumers are increasingly choosing newer ways to help them with their banking, using technology to check balances and make payments – or even speak to your bank 24/7.

“But technology is not for everyone, so the major banks have made arrangements for customers and businesses to do their day-to-day banking at over 11,500 Post Office branches nationwide.”

The spokesman added that banks are investing in new ATMs and mobile bank branches in rural communities.

Ceri Stanaway, Which? money editor, said: “For many there is simply no substitute for a dedicated branch and the wide range of services it offers and many customers now face having to travel long distances if they are to avoid financial exclusion.

“We want to see banks properly justifying the reasons for closure and taking into account their customers’ needs before shutting their doors – and their customers out.”

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