THE BANKS OF
What does the future of banking hold for us?
Change is coming. High street banking is undergoing a revolution. Ruth Jackson explores what’s on the horizon
With bank branches closing at a rate of three a week and contactless payments set to revolutionise the way we pay, it seems the banking world is going through some big changes. So what does the future hold for them and how will the way we bank change?
The latest figures from the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) show that 187 branches of the five big banking groups closed last year.This leaves the UK with just 190 branches per million people – a pitiful figure compared to our neighbours. France boasts 420 branches per million people and Spain has 940. So why are the banks closing down so many branches?
The main reason the banks cite is a simple lack of traffic. “We need to ensure that our branches are in the right locations for our customers,” says HSBC. “Customer habits are changing – they are now increasingly using branches where they work, or they are using the 24-hour convenience of internet or telephone banking. We have to ensure our branches are located in areas where they are used.”
That’s pretty understandable given so many of us now bank online. But it’s not ideal for people who still rely on branch services. One solution would be a “shared branch or community bank” in rural locations, says Derek French from the Campaign for Community Banking Services. But the banks aren’t keen on the expense this would involve.
Another solution may see the Post Office taking over the role of community bank with customers of all banks able to carry
THE FUTURE OF BANKING | MONEYWISE 3