BANKS ‘MASKING TRUTH’ ON CLOSURES
local branch once a fortnight, or who usually use it weekly but go on holiday several times a year are left out of the calculations.
Last year, Lloyds and RBS shut 439 outlets – and they are axing at least 519 more this year.
Campaigners last week accused the banks of trying to mask the truth about branches’ importance to justify savage cuts depriving rural communities of vital services.
When they shut a branch, banks must reveal how many customers rely on it, under industry rules. They typically say the branches have only a handful of regular customers and are no longer cost-effective.
The pair’s approach is far more restrictive than rival Barclays, which classifies someone as a regular customer if they use a branch just three times in a year.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has repeatedly fought branch closures.
FSB chairman Mike Cherry said: “There are thousands of small firms who visit branches less frequently to cash cheques, access credit lines and set up new accounts, a lot of small business owners suddenly need access to in-person support at once in the event of a widespread online banking glitch, for example.
“The banks need to recognise the importance of these more infrequent visits.”
A spokesman for Lloyds said it published how many customers used a branch on a monthly and weekly basis, adding: “We use over 100 measures when assessing the impact of a branch closure. We are transparent about the reasons for closing a branch.”
An RBS spokesman said transactions at branches in England and Wales were down 30% since 2014 and that the same period saw a 53% rise in the number of customers using mobile banking. – Daily Mail