Poorest hit hardest by 7,500 bank branch closures

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BANKS and building societies have closed four in ten of their branches since 1989, according to research published as a major high street brand warned of further closures.

In the 23 years to the end of 2012, the UK lost 7,500 branches, a study by Nottingham University found. It said the 40 per cent drop hit poorer communities especially hard, with banks and building societies more likely to close branches in areas beset by high unemployment than those in better-off locations.

Dr Shaun French, of Nottingham University, said: “Branches in less affluent areas have continued to disappear at an alarming rate. This is causing a highly uneven geography of financial provision across the country and we are seeing fewer facilities in areas with high levels of unemployment.”

The trend left people on lower incomes particularly exposed to “more predatory forms of institutions”, he added.

HSBC revealed this week that it is to close five more branches across the UK, on top of more than 200 already shut down over the past three years.