How many people are still using bank branches in the UK in 2020?

Are people still using bank branches? Is your area being affected by bank branch closures? Find out the latest data here.

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Bank branches were once a staple of every high street and a necessity for most financial transactions. However, as people are increasingly moving to online and mobile banking, banks branches have been disappearing from high-streets of the UK at a rapid pace.

We’ve done some research to find out how people in the UK are now interacting with their banks beyond the COVID pandemic. We also analysed the regions where bank branches are closing and which bank brands are shutting them.

High-street bank branch usage: Post COVID-19

We looked at how high-street bank customers are changing their interaction with their bank branch beyond COVID-19.

According to our research, 1.4 million Brits (3%) don’t intend to go back to a bank branch again after the COVID-19 pandemic. A further 1.7 million (3%) said that they don’t have an account with a high-street bank, meaning a total of 3 million Brits don’t have a need for physical branches. And this number may rise, as 8.4 million Brits (16%) had stopped using their bank’s branches before lockdown and are not sure if they will ever return.

However, not everyone has gone completely digital, with 3 in 10 high-street bank customers (29%) already returning to using their bank’s branches, with an additional 44% of customers planning to return soon. Of those people who plan to return in the near future, over two thirds (69%) will only return if they absolutely need to and their problem cannot be solved online or over the phone, while a third (31%) are waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine or treatment before they go back to their local branch. This means that eventually, three-quarters of Brits (74%) will return to in-branch banking in some form.

Intentions Number of high-street bank customers
Will use bank branches post COVID-19 22,534,172
Have already returned to using bank branches 14,961,878
Stopped using bank branches before COVID-19 8,358,960
Don't have a bank branch 1,650,705
Won't use bank branches post COVID-19 1,390,622

Regional differences: Customer bank branch usage post COVID-19

We also analysed how high-street bank customers from different regions across the UK are changing their interactions with their bank branches. Find out which regions are giving up on bank branches and going digital with our interactive maps below.

Region Stopped using bank branches before COVID-19 Will never return to bank branches Will or have returned to bank branches
East England 22% 1.7% 71%
East Midlands 25% 1.5% 66%
London 14% 3.2% 77%
North East 15% 5.0% 74%
North West 14% 1.8% 76%
Northern Ireland 8% 1.7% 85%
Scotland 19% 3.2% 69%
South East 17% 2.6% 74%
South West 15% 2.3% 75%
Wales 18% 3.1% 72%
West Midlands 15% 5.3% 72%
Yorkshire and the Humber 12% 1.9% 79%

Regional differences: Those who stopped using bank branches before COVID-19

According to our survey, a quarter of customers (25%) in the East Midlands had already stopped banking in branches, making this the area with the most customers who no longer use branches. A close second was East England, with 22% having stopped using bank branches, followed by Scotland (19%), Wales (18%) and the South East (17%).

In contrast, Northern Ireland was the least likely to give up bank branches pre-COVID-19, with only 8% having stopped using them.

Regional differences: Those who will never return to bank branches

West Midlands residents were most likely to never go back to bank branches, with 5.3% choosing this option. The next-highest region to give up on bank branches was the North East (5%), followed by London, Scotland and Wales, with 3.2%, 3.2% and 3.1% of residents respectively saying they are never going back to bank branches.

Regional differences: Those who will return to bank branches post COVID-19

The region that’s most keen to return to bank branches is Northern Ireland, with 85% of residents saying that they have already returned or are looking to return soon. Yorkshire and the Huber residents are the next most enthusiastic (79%), followed by London (77%), the North West (76%) and the South West (75%).

The region least interested to go back to bank branches were those in the East Midlands, with just 66% of residents saying they will return to them.

Bank branch closures

Brits may have to make a longer journey than they previously did to find a branch. Research shows that 25% of bank branches have closed in the UK since 2012 and this decline in branches is likely to continue if people follow through with their plans to avoid them. There are now 8,525 bank branches in the UK, down 2,830 from the 11,355 in 2012.

Year Number of bank branches
2012 11,355
2013 11,335
2014 10,960
2015 10,745
2016 10,340
2017 9,690
2018 9,090
2019 8,525

Branch closures (including scheduled) by bank: 2019-2021

Looking at branch closures from 2019 all the way to those scheduled for the end of 2021, TSB will have 260 bank branch closures, the most of any bank. Next is Barclays with 151 closures, followed by Santander (142), Lloyds (79) and RBS (54).

Bank Brand Number of closures
TSB 260
Barclays 151
Santander 142
Lloyds 79
RBS 54
HSBC 34
Halifax 23
Co-op 18
Nationwide 17
Bank of Scotland 8
Virgin 6
Yorkshire 6
Clysedale 5
Coventry 2

Branch closures (including scheduled) by region: 2019-2021

Those in Northern Ireland will have the least amount of bank closures between 2019 and 2021, with 78 branches closing. The North East has the second-least amount of bank closures (114), followed by the East Midlands (231), Wales (245) and East England (274).

The region with the most bank branch closures is Scotland (491), followed by the South East (483) and the North West (473).

Region Number of closures
East Anglia 274
East Midlands 231
London 382
North East 114
North West 473
Northern Ireland 78
Scotland 491
South East 483
South West 416
Wales 245
West Midlands 284
Yorkshire and The Humber 299

Sources

  • Finder-commissioned nationally representative survey 2020
  • ONS
  • Which?

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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