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Bank branch closures: is your local bank closing?

Use Which?'s unique bank branch closure tool to find out if your local bank branch is closing in 2018.

In this article
How many have bank branches have closed in 2018? Use our bank branch closure checker Which banks have closed the most branches? Which areas have been hardest hit by bank branch closures?
Why are so many bank branches closing? What are the alternatives to bank branches? Which? research on bank branch closures

Over the past few years, bank branches have been disappearing from our high streets at a frightening pace.

Banks say that this has been driven by a rapid increase in online and mobile banking, and a rapid decline in use of physical branches.

Which? has been tracking bank branch closures since 2015. In this guide, you can find out exactly what the state of play is, which banks have closed the most branches and the areas hardest hit.

And our bank branch closure checker allows you to find out which branches are closing in your area in 2018.

How many have bank branches have closed in 2018?

Banks and building societies have closed down, or plan to close down, a total of 670 branches in 2018.

The RBS Group, which comprises of NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank, will be shutting 422 branches this year. 

Lloyds Banking Group, made up of Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland, will shut down 101. 

Our chart shows how many which banks and building societies have closed the doors on their branches this year. 

Use our bank branch closure checker

To find out whether your local bank branch is closing this year, we've created a unique tool which will tell you if your bank is shutting down branches in your local authority. Simply select your bank and enter your postcode to find out which branches are closing down. 

Which banks have closed the most branches?

Which? has been tracking bank branch closures since 2015. A grand total of 2,868 branches have been shut down in the past four years, at a rate of 60-a-month.

Some 689 were closed in 2015, and a further 630 were closed in 2016. Closures rocketed the following year - some 879 branches were shut down in 2017.

NatWest has closed, or will soon close, the most branches over this period - some 638, closely followed by HSBC, which has closed 440. 

Lloyds Bank has shut down 366, while Royal Bank of Scotland has closed 350 branches. Barclays has closed 243.

The chart below shows how many branches have been closed down by 21 banks and building societies since 2015. Skip through the tabs to see the breakdown for each year. 

Which areas have been hardest hit by bank branch closures?

Banking customers in Scotland have seen the biggest reduction in branches since 2015. It has seen 368 branches close in the past four years. 

Royal Bank of Scotland has closed 150 branches in Scotland. Bank of Scotland has shut 86, while Clydesdale has closed 59.

The South East and North West aren't far behind, seeing 361 and 353 disappear, respectively. NatWest has closed 102, while HSBC shut 71 each in the South East.

In terms of local authorities, it's the City of Edinburgh that's been worst hit. It has seen 50 branches disappear, followed by Cornwall, which has lost 46 branches.

Top 10 local authorities for branch closures

Local authority Number of branch closures since 2015
City of Edinburgh 50
Cornwall 46
Glasgow City 38
Westminster 37
Birmingham 35
Manchester 34
Sheffield 29
Leeds 27
Highland 25
Wiltshire 25

Mapped: bank branch closures since 2015

The map below shows every single bank and building society branch closure since 2015. You can use the search bar to find your local area, filter between banks or choose a year to see when branches closed or are due to close. 

Why are so many bank branches closing?

The way we bank has changed dramatically over the past few years, with use of online and mobile rising and fewer people visiting branches. 

According to a report published by UK Finance, the trade body that represents banks, 71% of adults used online banking in 2017, representing 38 million people. 

Close to 22 million people used mobile banking apps, and there were around 5.5bn logins to apps last year. 

Meanwhile, the average branch received 104 visits a day in 2017, compared to 140 per day in 2012. This represents a 26% fall in bank branch visits.

Banks and building societies say that this has been the main driver of closures. Customers' banking habits are changing, and branches are needed by fewer and fewer customers. 

However, there are still plenty of people and small businesses that rely on local banks, who either don't want to or cannot engage with the digital revolution. This is particularly challenging in rural areas, where people suffer with poor broadband and mobile coverage, and higher populations of elderly customers. 

There are other reasons for branch closures. RBS Group took the decision to close an additional 162 Royal Bank of Scotland branches in England and Wales because it now allows customers of that brand to bank in a local NatWest branch. This meant it was running two branches in a high street when there was only a need for one. 

Yorkshire Building Society merged with Barnsley, Chelsea and Norwich & Peterborough building societies between 2008 and 2011. The mergers resulted in multiple high street locations within the same town, leading to closures. 

What are the alternatives to bank branches?

Under the Access to Banking Standard, introduced in 2015, banks have a requirement to engage their customers and communities ahead of planned closure, and offer alternative means of banking when a branch closes. 

These are some of the solutions on offer. 

Using the Post Office

According to UK Finance, 99% of retail banking customers can carry out basic banking at one of 11,500 Post Office's across the UK. 

You can pay money in, withdraw cash or check your bank balance at a Post Office branch. 

However, in order to pay in cheques, you'll need a paying in slip from your bank - which you can only get from a bank branch. You can pay in cash using your debit card.

Mobile banking vans

Both the RBS Group and Lloyds Banking Group offer mobile banking vans, which visit local communities and allow you to cash cheques, make deposits and withdrawals, and pay bills. 

They typically visit rural and semi-rural areas once a week. Hit the links to find out where NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland operate. 

Community bankers

RBS Group deploys 'Community Bankers' - professional bank staff who travel to areas with no branches and meet customers in shared local spaces, such as libraries, council buildings or leisure centres.

They can have discussions about financial issues, help people find out other ways to bank and at least give customers without a branch face-to-face assistance. 

Tech support

Many banks offer help to get people feeling comfortable with using mobile and online banking.

RBS has a team of TechXperts, based in branches helping people set up online and mobile banking. They can help people download apps on their devices and show customers how to use them.

Barclays runs a similar initiative through its Digital Eagles, also helping customers use the internet for broader tasks, such as online shopping, setting up email address and staying safe online. 

Which? research on bank branch closures

Which? collected bank branch closure data by tracking announcements and contacted banks to confirm our figures. When a bank has refused to do this we have included our unconfirmed figures. Only Barclays has not confirmed its data on branch closures.