Bank branches have been consistently closing across the UK. As our infographic below shows, the number of open bank branches across the UK shrunk by 20% in the last 5 years.
The closure of local branches has an impact not only on individuals’ finances and access to banking services, but also on small businesses. Move Your Money had previously estimated that lending to small businesses was down by 63% in areas which had lost their local bank branch.
Whilst many banks are developing their online systems to ensure that banking services are provided to local communities, there are a significant number of businesses and individuals who like not only the convenience of a local branch, but also the opportunity to speak to somebody face-to face.
Nowadays, most banks have centralised telephone numbers, and customers can spend ages being passed around from call-centre to call centre trying to get their questions answered. At least with a local branch, and a local bank manager, businesses can talk face-to-face with an individual who can point them in the right direction. Something which is becoming harder and harder.
This is particularly important when it comes to business finance. Every small business is different and requires a bespoke approach when it comes to identifying potential options. This ensures that they get the right finance.
That personal approach, which is slowly disappearing, is all the more important in ensuring that businesses get the right finance for them.