One in five bank customers is forced to make an hour-long round trip to visit their nearest branch, as users, including the elderly and vulnerable, face increasingly longer journeys, they reveal. the data.
- In the last eight years, the number of bank branches has been reduced by more than half
- Some people face a grueling round trip of more than three hours, according to a survey
One in five customers is now forced to make a round trip of more than an hour to visit their nearest bank branch, the data reveals.
As outlets continue to close at an alarming rate, many users, especially the elderly and vulnerable, face increasingly longer journeys to access basic banking services.
Nearly a quarter of those living in Northern Ireland have to travel more than an hour to visit their nearest branch, while 23.9 per cent in the East Midlands face a similar journey.
Some face a grueling round trip of more than three hours to visit their nearest branch, a survey of 2,000 people by the Newcastle Building Society showed.
Residents of Yorkshire and the Humber, Scotland and the North West spend most of their time traveling to access services, typically facing a 29-minute journey.
One in five customers is now forced to make a round trip of more than an hour to visit their nearest bank branch (file image)
In the last eight years, the number of bank branches has been reduced by more than half.
Many towns and villages no longer have one left, leaving communities without access to cash and the elderly and vulnerable without a financial livelihood.
Since 2015, banks and building societies have removed 5,201 sites, 53 percent of all branches, analysis by consumer rights group Which? shows
So far this year, 263 branches have closed or are scheduled to close, leaving households with no choice but to make hour-long drives for simple tasks like cashing a check or speaking with a staff member in person.
Michael Conville, Newcastle Building Society’s acting director of customer services, said: “The stark reality is that as branch closures increase, an increasing proportion are having to travel longer distances, at increasing cost, to reach your local financial services and access cash.
“This increase in branch closures is a concern for many as the trend continues across Britain and more communities are left adrift.”
Nearly three times as many people now have a digital-only bank account than three years ago, as customers are forced to access services online.
About 24 percent have an account that is managed through online banking or a phone app rather than at the branch, up from 9 percent in 2019, according to a survey by price comparison website Finder.
Some face a grueling round trip of more than three hours to visit their nearest branch, a survey of 2,000 people by the Newcastle Building Society showed (file image)
More than half of those 74 and older said that not having access to a bank branch was the main reason they switched to digital-only banking.
News recently broke that Rutland will soon become the first county in England not to have a single bank branch, when HSBC closes its Oakham branch in June.
With high street bank branches closing, people are more reliant on getting cash from ATMs, but these too are closing at an alarming rate.
Nearly a quarter of free-to-use ATMs, more than 12,000, have been phased out since 2018, according to research by Which? has found.
Rural areas are the most affected, as they tend to have a higher proportion of elderly residents, who are sometimes reluctant to use internet banking and card payment.