TSB has announced plans to close 70 branches next year, meaning it will have closed more than 300 branches in three years by the end of 2022.
The bank says this is due to ‘declining branch use’ and the growing popularity of online banking. It closed 164 branches in 2021 and 80 branches in 2020, according to the ‘Our Closure Programme’ page on its website.
TSB says it was already planning to further reduce its branch network, but the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards online banking. According to the bank, more than 90% of customer transactions are now carried out digitally.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revealed last month that there are less than 6,000 bank and building society branches left open in the UK as major banks continue to close, making free cash harder to access for those who need it.
Here, Which? takes a closer look at which bank branches are closing, and what that means for cash acceptance today.
Which TSB branches are closing?
You can search the table below to see if your local TSB branch is affected.
Source: TSB, 30 November 2021
The bank says it will not close branches in areas where a TSB branch is the ‘last branch in town’. It says it will maintain its position as the seventh-largest bank branch network in the UK with over 200 locations.
- Find out more: is my local bank closing?
How hard is it to access cash?
With hundreds of bank branches closing each year, people who use cash day-to-day are being left with far fewer options.
The latest data from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revealed that there were only 5,599 branches from larger banks and building societies that offer personal current accounts left open in the UK in June 2021.
While the FCA did find that the majority of people in the UK live relatively close to a free cash access point (be that a bank, ATM or Post Office), it’s a bleaker picture when you zoom into the local level.
In rural England, for example, 77.3% of people live less than 2km from a free cash source, versus 99.7% of people in urban areas.
As for how close people are to bricks-and-mortar bank branches, the FCA says 60.1% currently live within 2km of one, down from 61.8% in the previous quarter.
People in rural Wales are most likely to need to take a long journey to find a bank branch, with 7.5% of homes more than 16km away from one.
Gareth Shaw, Which? Head of Money, said: ‘These closures mean that over 300 TSB branches across the country will have closed their doors in three years, which seems to fly in the face of work being done across the industry to protect access to cash.
‘Many consumers rely on bank branches for vital services, including accessing cash. Greater scrutiny of branch closures must be in place to ensure that people who rely on cash can access it.
‘The government must urgently press ahead with long-promised legislation that guarantees consumers can continue to access cash for as long as it is needed.’
- Find out more: Barclays to close more branches in 2022
Has cash survived the pandemic?
As TSB says, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated cash’s decline. But Which? research shows this isn’t necessarily because people have stopped wanting to use it.
Earlier this year, we surveyed 2,000 people and found three in five had experienced issues accessing cash during the pandemic. We also found that one in five people had had cash payments rejected since lockdown restrictions eased.
- Find out more: what we learned from the Which? Cash Summit
Sign up to the Which? Cash Friendly Pledge
We launched our Cash Friendly Pledge in May 2021 to give retailers the chance to show customers they welcome payments in cash.
So far, more than 200 businesses have signed up, including Aldi, Co-op and John Lewis. Smaller independent businesses have also signed up to help reassure local customers who prefer to use cash.
- Find out more: big retailers sign Which? cash pledge
Cash legislation is needed now
Which? welcomed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s pledge to protect cash in the 2020 Budget, but the government is yet to follow up these words with legislation.
We’re calling on the government to act now to protect cash for as long as people need it.
- Find out more: our freedom to pay campaign