RBS embarrassed by closing hundreds of its branches: bank named UK’s worst offender
RBS has been named and shamed as the bank to close most of its branches after removing hundreds of High Street sites over the past eight years.
The bank, owned by NatWest and bailed out by taxpayers during the last financial crisis, has closed more than 80 per cent of its branches since 2015.
It is the worst offender of the big banks, having closed most of its branch network, the Daily Mail reveals.
RBS has closed 451 branches since 2015 and is preparing to close two more this year, leaving just 104 sites open.
Banks have argued that it is necessary to close branches as most customers now prefer to manage their finances online.
Fading away: RBS, owned by NatWest and bailed out by taxpayers during the last financial crisis, has closed more than 80% of its stores since 2015.
But campaigners said mass closures risk “isolating” older people, who prefer to use face-to-face services.
Charity Independent Age said some older clients do not have access to the internet, either due to lack of trust or cost, and many fear being scammed online.
The charity’s director, John Palmer, said: “It is very worrying that so many older people are potentially left without access to a bank branch.” Banks must ensure that branch closures do not prevent older people from accessing their finances.’
Figures from the consumer group Which one? show The Cooperative Bank has closed 77.3 percent of its network by closing 170 sites in the last eight years. There are only 50 branches left.
Barclays has closed 74.4 per cent of its network since 2015, leaving customers with just 314 branches nationwide. By the end of 2023 it will have closed 1,140 sites, more than any other bank.
HSBC also closed a large portion of its branches and only has 335 sites left. It has abandoned 743 locations since 2015, representing 68.3 percent of its branches.
TSB has closed 423 sites (which is 66.9 per cent of the number it had in 2015) and Virgin Money has closed 277, which is 64.7 per cent of its network.
NatWest, which owns RBS, has closed 61.8 per cent of its locations.
The bank, which was rocked by Nigel Farage’s debanking scandal this summer, will have closed 838 sites by the end of 2023.
Between them, NatWest and RBS have closed 1,291 branches since 2015. NatWest did not respond to a request for comment.
Lloyds customers will have lost access to 736 branches by the end of the year, representing a total of 52.5 per cent of its network.
Lloyds Banking Group also owns Bank of Scotland and Halifax, which have lost 45.4 per cent and 26.7 per cent of their networks respectively.
Santander has closed 477 sites (more than half of its branches, with 51.8 percent) and has 444 remaining.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “Another week and another set of figures clearly illustrating the rapid decline in bank branches across the country.
“The continued closure of banks in recent years has dealt a hard blow to millions of older people.”
Banks said they are adapting to the change in customer behavior and trying to provide some in-person services, including pop-up sites and banking centers, when a permanent site closes.
A spokesperson for UK Finance, which represents the banking sector, said: “The decision to close a branch is never taken lightly and only after a thorough review of how much it is being used and the other options in the local area.”