High Street banks set to halve in number
Published 16 July 2012 by Daniel Culpan
As High Street bank branches are set to halve in number over the next eight years, alternative ways of banking are getting more important.
The number of bank branches on the High Street is set to fall by half, The Independent reports.
Research from global property expert Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) has indicated that up to 50% of High Street bank branches will see their doors close for the final time in the next eight years.
James Brown, head of European retail consulting at JLL, said: "The UK retail banking landscape is changing. New entrants are emerging, which is good for competition and consumer choice, but these operators will not want to absorb all the legacy property portfolios that the UK banks have amassed. As we have seen in retail, the new route to market is multi-channel, and the role of physical space in this mix is changing."
The Government has said it wants to help create 'challenger' banks to provide more competition with the 'big five' banks - HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, Barclays and Santander - and offer more choice to consumers.
However, JLL predicts that the increased drive towards 'multi-channel' banking, offering such services as 24-hour access to call-centre staff using video conferencing, along with the growing popularity of online and mobile banking, will lead to fewer bank branches.
In recent times, many banks and building societies have been closing branches, while some supermarkets - including Asda and Tesco - have started to offer banking services in-store.
A spokesperson for thinkmoney commented: "There are alternatives to banking on the High Street, and with the growing popularity of mobile and online banking, many people find they can now manage their money perfectly well without needing to set foot in a branch. If you're looking for a bank account, you should speak to providers directly to find out what services they offer."