More Than 500 U.K. Bank Branches Have Closed during Lockdown

More than 500 bank branches have permanently shut in the U.K. during lockdown, according to a report by Which?, despite calls for branches to remain open for those who rely on in-person banking. MailOnline has the story.

Repeated national lockdowns appear to have accelerated a shift to online banking for many customers. 

But there are growing concerns over the impact the closure of branches in towns could have on vulnerable customers who rely on in-person banking. 

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had urged banks to delay branch closures during the pandemic where possible to do so. 

But Which? found that some 529 branches have closed since March 23rd last year when the first national lockdown was imposed, according to numbers reported by the Telegraph.

Barclays, NatWest, Lloyds, HSBC, Co-op Bank and TSB are among those said to have made cuts.

Gareth Shaw, Head of Money at Which?, told the newspaper he believes bank closures will now “ramp up” as life returns to something closer to normal. 

He said the coronavirus crisis had “put the proverbial foot down” on the ongoing move away from in-person banking to online. 

The FCA’s plea to keep branches open is thought to have delayed some closures but Mr Shaw said the “case for keeping those branches open is not as strong” now as it was last year. 

This report presents another example of lockdown accelerating a pre-established trend with more than 4,000 bank branches having now closed in the U.K. since 2015.

Worth reading in full.

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