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Up to 2,400 bank branches could close putting up to 12,000 jobs at risk

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

That’s a quarter of the remaining branch network in the UK

A further 2,400 bank branches may close before the end of 2018 and up to 12,000 branch-based jobs could be at risk, a study has predicted.

A report from David Black, a banking and financial services insight analyst, commissioned by The Nottingham Building Society, has revealed that this figure represents over 25% of the remaining network of bank and building society branches in the UK. An estimated 879 bank branches closed last year.

The study has found that 29% of people expect the rate of branch closures to increase ‘dramatically’ over the next three years, and 49% think there will be a slight increase.

Almost 90% of people feel there is still a key role for branches to play, but this needs to be ‘reinvented’. Only five per cent of people interviewed feel branches have no future.

One in four people believe if their local bank or building society branch closed, they would suffer from ‘financial exclusion’ as they would have less access to advice and financial products and services.

Almost 53% said they would use branch-based savings accounts, followed by 32% who would use independent financial advice in-house.

Just over one in five said that they would be happy to use a branch-based whole of market mortgage advice service and nine per cent would use a local estate agency service based in bank and building society branches.

David Marlow, chief executive officer of The Nottingham Building Society, said: “This report echoes what we are seeing on the high street, branches that are solely focused on transactional offerings have a limited future. We have reinvented our branch proposition to offer a far wider range of services. This includes financial advice, whole of market mortgage comparison, savings accounts and estate agency services at selected branches.

“Since doing this, our footfall has increased by around 10%, and our membership has grown, along with mortgage applications and savings balances. Our membership approval rating is currently at 79%, which places us amongst the best organisations in the world from a customer satisfaction point of view.”