Overview of branch closures announced by banks since January 2022

Assessing communities’ cash access needs following branch closures

Under a new initiative agreed by the Cash Action Group, LINK has been asked to analyse the impact of the planned closures on local communities. Under the voluntary agreement, which began on 1 January 2022, the major high street banking firms will notify LINK of their planned branch closures. This is part of a commitment from the firms, supported by major consumer groups, to ensure that no community is left without the cash access and deposit services it needs. This is a new approach and it is likely to change over time - as we learn more about how best to meet communities' needs.

Once LINK has been told about a planned closure, we assess whether the community’s needs will still be met even after the closure has taken place. If we decide that a new service will be needed, we work with the firms who have signed up to the initiative to provide it.

How we assess the community’s needs

The first thing we look at is what branches there are in the community. If there is a bank branch, or a branch of Nationwide Building Society, we are unable to recommend a banking hub. In some communities where branches are still available, we can still recommend ways to help businesses and consumers deposit their cash.

If there is no bank branch left, we will do an initial ‘fact find’. The larger the community, in terms of the number of residents and shops, the more likely it is to need cash access and deposit services, provided face to face.  There is no hard and fast rule, as other factors matter too, but we are expecting the threshold for needing face to face services within or close to a community to be around a population size of more than 7,000 within 1 km of the centre, and more than 70 local retailers. We are using a single data source (CACI data) to ensure a robust assessment.

The second stage involves a detailed desktop review looking at four factors:

  • how close is the nearest neighbouring community with banking facilities. If the community is very close, we may consider that the neighbouring community can support the residents’ cash needs. But the further away, the more likely it is to need its own services. We measure the time to travel by bus, given that many people who depend on cash may not have access to a car.
  • how levels of financial vulnerability compare with the national average. The more financially vulnerable the community, the more it is likely to need local cash services.
  • how levels of digital vulnerability compare with the national average. The more ‘digitally vulnerable’ the population – that is, not using digital services – the more likely they are to need local cash services.
  • the proportion of older people (over 65) in the community, compared with the national average. We know that many older people can be less comfortable using (or unable to use) online services, and therefore more likely to need access to face to face basic banking and cash services.

Using a weighted scoring system, we assess whether the community is likely to need a new service.

The final stage in the process involves a visit to the community to check we have all the facts and to see whether we have missed anything. As well as checking things like bus timetables, we will look at whether there are any steep hills or major roads that can make it hard for people to access cash services. Information available online doesn’t always give us the full picture.

Following the community visit, we may decide that the community’s cash needs will continue to be met. Or we may recommend a new service, which could include a new free-to-use ATM, a service for depositing cash, or a shared banking hub.

The Community Cash Advisory Panel

An independently chaired Community Cash Advisory Panel will scrutinise the assessment approach, the new services identified by LINK and the firms implementation of these new services to check that communities’ needs are being met effectively. 

Branch Closures and Recommendations announced since 1st January 2022

The table attached here details all of the bank branch closures that have been publicly announced since the start of 2022 along with details of the current status of LINK’s assessment and recommendations. It also details locations where LINK has recommended new services as a result of requests from communities. This table will be updated as further branch closures are publicly announced and as LINK recommends new services. The information in this table is based on information available publicly and can be subject to change.

This table was last updated on 20th May 2024.

If you would like to share relevant information with LINK, or have any general questions, please contact us.

Back to top