600 UK Bank Branches Closed Down in 2015

Author: Kim Jacobs All about moving and London

2015 saw the closure of six hundred bank branches across Great Britain with rural areas being hit the hardest. The main reason for closing down so many brick and mortar bank branches is the prevalence of online banking use, rendering physical bank branches less necessary. BankIn the last ten years, more than three thousand bank branches were closed down in Great Britain, which leaves about eight thousand branches currently active. The two banks which closed down the highest number of their branches in 2015 were Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and HSBC – 166 and 146 respectively. Apart from rural areas, the other most affected regions are commuter towns as residents prefer to do banking near their workplace instead of close to their home. This however is a burden for local business owners in such localities as they have to travel excessively long distances and spend quite a bit of time to do everyday banking operations like cashing in cheques, deposits etc. Perhaps it means some extra business for removal companies but nevertheless, it is inconvenience for local residents and business owners.

At the same time though, other banking institutions like Metro Bank for instance have opened a decent number of new branches. Metro have opened a total of 41 new branches in the last half a decade, with another 60 new branches to be opened by the year 2020. Banks review their branch services regularly in order to ensure that services provided are adequate and sufficient for local customer needs. However, the sharp increase of internet and telephone banking is reducing the need for the old ‘branches round every corner’ policy. Overall, it appears that over the counter services have dropped by nearly forty five percent in the period 2010 – 2015.

Losing a bank branch debilitates the local community

Indeed, there is much inconvenience created by the closure of a local bank branch for area-based businesses and households. Banks do not take closing branches lightly and understand the downsides of one such necessity. But figures do not lie – in 2015 alone, over the counter services as a whole have dropped nearly seven percent while online banking log-ins have peaked at nearly ten million. Senior citizens are also suffering from closure of their local bank branches as majority of seniors do not use online or phone banking, and have to travel increasingly long distances which is a problem for many.

The banks which closed the highest number of branches in 2015

RBS Group (including NatWest) 165 branches closed
HSBC 149 branches closed
Barclays 110 branches closed
Santander 70 branches closed
Lloyds 60 branches closed
Cooperative Bank 50 branches closed


Although there have been a large number of bank branch closures, there have also been many new branches established, or reopened in areas where they were previously closed down, so the picture might not be as grim as it first appears. Fact remains though, modern means of banking are prevalent and the trend is expected to continue, which means maintaining a large number of branches in certain regions uneconomical. Branch policy of major banks is always under review and analysis so that as many branches as necessary remain open, where they are most needed.