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Fears for consumer finances as 60 bank branches closing a month

Bank branches across the UK are closing at a rate of around 60 a month, new research from consumer group Which? has found.

By the time we reach the end of 2018, 2,868 branches will have closed in the last three years.

RBS has led the way in closures, but the rate of branches shutting across the board has accelerated in the last 12 months.

HSBC and Lloyds will each have shut 400 branches respectively since 2015, Which?’s data shows.

However, RBS, including its Natwest and Ulster Bank brands, has closed around 1,000 over the period.

Which? online money head Gareth Shaw says: “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.”

The issue of closures has hit Scotland the hardest, where 368 branches will have shut by the end of the year.

However, the South East has also taken a significant hit, with 361 due to close.

Some banks have developed mobile banking trucks, but many point to changes in consumer behaviour towards online banking that have made physical branches unprofitable.

An RBS spokesman said: “Since 2014 the number of customers using our branches across the UK has fallen by 40 per cent and mobile transactions have increased by 73 per cent over the same period.

“As customers continue to change the way they bank with us, we must change the way we serve them, so we are investing in our branches and re-shaping our network, replacing traditional bricks and mortar branches with alternative ways to bank.”

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