Bank branches are disappearingBig banks roll back their high street presence

25 February 2011

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Bank branch numbers are on the slide

New research from Which? money shows that some big-name high-street banks are cutting their high-street branches.

Barclays, HSBC, NatWest and Nationwide all told us they had decreased their branch numbers since 2005. Barclays told us it had shed 366 branches. This came about as a result of its merger with Woolwich and its decision to close Woolwich branches near to existing Barclays locations. HSBC cut back 211 branches since 2005, while NatWest lost 82 branches.

Santander rises

Santander bucked the trend in counting 145 more branches than it had trading as Alliance & Leicester, Abbey and Bradford & Bingley in 2005. Numbers are set to increase, with 311 Royal Bank of Scotland branches in England and Wales, and seven NatWest branches in Scotland to become Santander branches later this year. 

Lloyds Banking Group was unwilling to give us precise information about the number of branches within the group now and in 2005, but it estimated it had stayed at ‘around 3,000’.

Campaign for Community Banking

Which? is a member of the Campaign for Community Banking Services, which campaigns against bank branch closures. If you're unhappy that your local bank is closing, we recommend you switch to a Which? recommended provider current account. The Co-operative Bank is a Which? recommended provider and has three more branches than it did in 2005.

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