1. ITV Report

Around 200 banks closed or set to close in Wales

Credit: PA

Bank and building society branches are closing at an "alarming" rate, according to a consumer group.

Which? says nearly 60 banks and building societies are closing per month in the UK.

It says 200 banks have either closed or are scheduled to close in Wales, compared with 288 in London, 44 in Northern Ireland and 368 in Scotland.

branches have closed or are scheduled to do so across the UK between 2015-2018.
branches have closed or been scheduled for closure in the UK this year.

According to Which? data:

  • NatWest has had the most closures or scheduled closures at 638,
  • Followed by HSBC at 440,
  • Lloyds at 366 and
  • RBS at 350.

Bank branch closures are happening at an alarming rate - with almost 60 shutting every month - stripping customers and communities of access to the financial services they need.

While the decision is clearly a commercial one for a bank to take, it is also crucial that banks do recognise the needs of their customers and the communities they serve, before simply shutting their doors - and their customers out.

– Gareth Shaw, Which? Money expert

Bank branches play an important role in local communities which is why decisions to close them are only ever taken after all other options, like reducing opening hours and staff numbers, have been exhausted.

Bank branch visits have fallen by a quarter since 2012, with the development of new technology meaning it's now easier for people to do their banking at a time and place that is convenient to them.

You can check your balance online, pay back a friend digitally or speak your bank for advice 24/7.

But technology is not for everyone which is why all the major banks offer day-to-day banking services through 11,500 Post Office branches.

This is important to make sure that no-one gets left behind, which is why banks are continuing to invest in new ATMs and mobile bank branches to reach out to more rural communities.

– Trade Association UK Finance spokesperson