Virgin Money has announced it will be shutting 31 branches across England and Scotland next year.
The closures are set to finish by early 2022 and just 131 Virgin Money branches will remain.
Virgin Money is the latest bank to make major cuts to its network. TSB, HSBC, Santander and Lloyds Bank will have shut a combined total of 237 branches this year.
Here, Which? reveals the full list of affected branches, why Virgin Money is closing more of its network, and how you can join our campaign to safeguard everyone’s access to banking.
Which Virgin Money branches are closing?
The locations of the 31 Virgin Money branches set to close are detailed in the table below. You can use the search bar to see if your local branch is affected.
Source: Virgin Money
It hasn’t been confirmed exactly when each branch will close, but Virgin Money says they will close their doors for the last time in early 2022.
Why is Virgin Money closing these bank branches?
Virgin Money says the decision to close some of its bank branches is down to customers switching to online banking during the coronavirus pandemic.
It says the number of customers using its bank branches has been in decline for a number of years.
The decision behind which branches to close was also based on each one’s location, usage, proximity to alternative branches, and lease arrangement.
The provider said 28 of the branches due to close are less than a third of a mile away from the nearest Post Office, two are within a mile of a Post Office or alternative Virgin Money branch, and one branch was a staff-only site.
What to do if your local bank branch is closing
If your local Virgin Money branch is closing, you have a few options of what you can do:
- Use the Post Office: The 11,500 Post Office branches in the UK offer access to cash and some other banking services. Virgin Money says most customers will be able to find a Post Office branch less than a third of a mile away from the bank branches it’s planning to close.
- Try another branch: If you’re able to travel further afield, there may be another Virgin Money bank branch in easy distance of where you live.
- Online and telephone banking: Virgin Money’s current accounts all offer phone, app and internet banking, where you can manage your account without needing to visit a branch.
- Switch to a new provider: If you don’t want to bank differently with Virgin Money, you could consider switching to an alternative provider which does have a local branch. Several providers are currently offering switching bonuses of up to £150 for new customers.
How many other bank branches are closing?
Virgin Money is by no means the first provider to announce the closure of some of its branch network.
Bank and building society branches have been disappearing from high streets at an alarming rate over the past few years, and the problem is affecting the whole of the UK.
This year alone, we’ve seen HSBC announce the closure of 82 branches, reducing its network from 593 to 511 between January and September 2021.
In March, Santander announced 111 of its bank branches would disappear by the end of August.
Lloyds Bank and Halifax announced the closure of 44 branches back in June, which are due to be complete by the end of the year.
Which? research has found that since the first national lockdown in March last year until the end of restrictions this July, there were 801 bank branch closures, with another 103 set to close by the end of the year.
Is everyone ready for digital banking?
While the use of online banking may be on the rise, it’s not suitable for everyone.
Many people still rely on bank branches for many reasons – whether it’s because they need to use cash in their everyday lives, or simply that they don’t want to bank online.
The UK’s cash infrastructure has been under increasing strain – particularly during the coronavirus crisis as some businesses started refusing cash altogether, a practice which is still happening despite the easing of lockdown rules.
This, coupled with ATMs and bank branches closing at pace has left millions of people who still depend on cash with no way to pay.
At the Which? Cash Summit earlier this year, UK Finance and Natalie Ceeney, author of the independent Access to Cash Review, confirmed they would be forming an ‘Access to Cash Action Group’ with eight major high street banks and banking groups.
The UK government is also moving closer towards cash legislation, which was promised in the March 2020 Budget. While there have been significant delays to its introduction, Treasury minister John Glen revealed the government’s plans to launch a consultation of legislative proposals at our summit.
Gareth Shaw, Which? Head of Money, said: ‘It is vital that consumers who are not yet ready or able to bank digitally are protected against the domino effect of branch closures that have taken place across the UK, particularly if they are vulnerable.
‘This announcement from Virgin Money also demonstrates the risk of the government delaying its desperately-needed legislation to protect cash and the industry’s failure to come up with solutions to the rapid decline of cash access.
‘This should serve as a wake-up call to the government. Legislation safeguarding access to cash must be introduced as soon as possible, which gives the FCA powers to hold industry accountable for providing local cash services.’
- Find out more: see the latest updates on our work to protect cash
‘Freedom to pay. Our way’
We’re continuing to lobby the government to intervene and protect the UK’s banking and cash infrastructure.
You can support the ‘Freedom to pay. Our way’ campaign, by signing our petition.