1. ITV Report

Banks shut more than 1,000 local branches since 2015, research finds

More than 1,000 high street bank branches have closed over the past two years. Credit: PA

More than 1,000 high street bank branches have closed over the past two years as more customers go online, research from consumer group Which? has found.

Across the UK, 1,046 bank branches were shut or were set to close between January 2015 and the end of this month.

HSBC cut the most branches, at 321, equating to about a quarter of its network, followed by RBS Group, closing 191 branches, or 10% of its network, according to Which?.

It said Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland, had shut 180 branches, or 14% of its network.

Which? said it was told by HSBC that the number of visits to branches had fallen on average by 40% in the past five years as customers moved to banking online.

Access to the services necessary to make everyday banking possible should be simple and straightforward.

We've seen some good examples of banks acting responsibly and in the interest of local communities when they close branches.

However, banks can and must do a better job of working with their customers to understand their needs and those of the local community, especially when they are making changes to the services they offer or closing branches.

– Peter Vicary-Smith, Which?
Number of branches HSBC closed since January 2015
Number of branches RBS closed since January 2015
Number of branches Lloyds closed since January 2015
Number of branches Barclays closed since January 2015

A spokesman for HSBC said: "We recognise that our branches are an important way for our customers to bank with us, and we remain committed to offering our customers access to a well located and high-quality branch network.

"However, we do review our branch network to make sure they are in the right locations for our customers and we have a sustainable network for the future.

"When we do make the decision to close a branch our main priority is to ensure that our customers and their banking needs are catered for in the best way possible."