Whilst it’s a recent announcement that The Co-operative Bank’s propose to cut 350 jobs and close 18 branches, the branches’ specific locations have been selected following an analysis of individual footfall into their branches over a 12-month period that was started prior to the start of lockdown.
So are the trends for UK banks to close branches solely because of changes in behaviour of banking customers from offline to online potentially accelerated by the pandemic lockdown restrictions?
Is another reason the reduction in fixed overhead costs attributed to bricks and mortar branches?
Also add into the mix another reason caused by the very low base rates affecting all banks’ incomes that appears likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
These potential reasons if all valid add up to UK banks perhaps having to change their business model in order to maintain an acceptable level of profitability. If that’s the case does there need to be a wider discussion of the impact of branch closures across all segments of the UK marketplace to ensure that communities who don’t have online banking aren’t deprived of easy and affordable access to the UK banking system.
And perhaps this needs to be part of a wider review of high streets as the UK looks to navigate the impact of the ongoing pandemic and the post-lockdown temporary and permanent changes in consumer behaviour?