More than 2.2 million people in Britain live in areas without any banks, while millions more have access to only one branch, forcing them to travel long distances for face-to-face services.
Major UK banks have closed over 80% of their branches in the past eight years. This means over half of the UK’s banking network has disappeared since 2015, with 5,597 branches shut down. The decline in bank branches has hit vulnerable and older people, many of whom are not online or confident with mobile banking.
The closures have also affected businesses, leaving high streets struggling and forcing them to travel long distances to make deposits. The closure trend is set to continue, with 636 sites scheduled to close by the end of December and another 42 banks earmarked for closure in 2024. The issue of bank closures and the need for local access to cash and bank branches has been raised by MPs and regulators
Treasury Committee Chair Harriett Baldwin said “The committee regularly raises this issue with banks and regulators. It’s important people can access cash. That means local access to bank branches and free cashpoints.”