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Prevent local branches from closing

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by Kay Mitchell

It is anticipated that 850 communities in the UK have experienced the closure of their local bank branch. The Campaign for Community Banking Services is urging people to visit their local branch to prevent it from closing.

The big five banks – HSBC, Halifax Bank of Scotland, RBS Natwest, Lloyds TSB and Barclays have been closing their branches around the UK to reduce costs and increase profits, in spite of them making around £85 a second in 2006.

To stop the closure of local bank branches, consultants have warned that customers have only 5 years to do this before direct banking takes over. Deloitte found that banks are forcing customers out of branches and in the direction of web and phone services. The branches are turning their attention to selling loans and packaged accounts rather than helping customers. According to many banks, their customers would rather use internet banking but Deloitte established that two-thirds of customers would not choose a bank where they did not have access to a branch. Banks need to start using the local branches to serve customers needs.

Research shows that banks are making profits from local branches. It costs £10.5 billion to run the 13,000 in the UK and banks are making a £3.2 billion profit from them. According to the British Bankers’ Association, quality of service is vital to banks and employees are not paid purely on a commission basis but evaluated on many issues including customer satisfaction.

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News posted: July 6, 2007

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