New closure threat for local bank branches


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The Independent Online

Local bank branches are facing fresh risks of closure, according to Derek French of the Campaign for Community Banking Services.

A new branch strategy announcement is expected from RBS/NatWest next month. Meanwhile, Lloyds Banking Group’s three-year moratorium on branch closures ends in February 2015 raising fears it will announce a fresh round of shutdowns.

Barclays, which continues to close neighbourhood branches, has signalled a change of policy with relocations of high street branches into ASDA superstores beginning next month. HSBC’s 1.150-strong branch network is the smallest of the big four brands and it has begun 2014 with notices to withdraw from more small towns.

“These voids are not being filled by challenger banks such as Virgin, Metro, Handelsbanken and Tesco,” said Mr French.

“The lopsided networks of spin-offs TSB and Williams & Glyn’s bring nothing to the party and Co-op Bank is itself closing branches.”

He has called on the Government to stop communities losing bank branches.