As Branches Close and ATMs Disappear, Can Physical Banking Evolve to Retain Access to Cash?

Bank closures continue to intensify, with at least 193 bank branches scheduled to close completely by 2023. With more banks turning to online banking and digital payments, how are banking services evolving to support those who still need access to cash?

The UK’s largest high street banks have all announced plans for 2023 with varying numbers of closures. This is not surprising as the percentage of services provided by physical banks are now completed online.

reported that House Library, in 1986 there were 21,643 bank and housing association branches in the UK. In 2014, there were only 10,565 branches. By the end of 2021, over 8,000 bank branches remained. As the number of bank branches continues to decline, so too does the number of ATMs.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital transactions, but the recent cost of living crisis has pushed many people back to using cash in the UK. Japan Architectural Institute announced in January that cash usage had increased for the first time in 13 years. In 2022, more than 30.2 million of his withdrawals were made from ATMs nationwide. A 19% increase compared to 2021 data.

However, between July 2018 and September 2022, the number of ATMs in the UK fell by 14,665 (22%). With signs that cash is becoming increasingly difficult to access, how are traditional banks coping with this problem?

Barclays plans to introduce at least 10 new banking ‘pods’ in coming months
Barclays Banking Pod

In order to evolve operations in response to these issues, barclays bank introduced a new flexible banking strategy. As part of that, we plan to launch a new “banking pod”. Semi-permanent structures installed in shopping centers, retail parks, etc.

Pods are Barclays Local service. The service will work with local governments and communities to help banks maintain a presence in areas where there was not enough demand to keep physical branches operating. The initiative will ensure that Barclays employees continue to provide in-person support at City Hall and the Library as needed.

Joe Mayer
Jo Mayer, Head of Daily Banking, Barclays UK

Joe MayerHead of Daily Banking at Barclays UK, he explained banks need to evolve their approach. Mayer commented:

“Our new banking pods and community pop-ups help us tailor in-person support to each location, including digital skills support. , maintaining its presence in the community.”

Barclays plans to launch at least 10 new banking pods across the UK by summer 2023, further relying on the success of its first pod in St Austell, Cornwall.

Community Banking Hub

Banking hubs often post office.

Access to post office cash banking

There are currently four existing banking hubs in the UK: Essex, East Riding of Yorkshire, South Lanarkshire and Devon. cash access and ATM network for the UK, Linkcontinues to seek to be more open.

The service also offers a dedicated room for customers to visit the community bankers of their particular bank. Plans for nine new banking hubs and six new deposit services have also been announced.

John HowellsLINK CEO commented on the news as follows: Not everyone can go digital, but we are happy to announce a new cash service to support these communities. “

LINK also aims to invest over £15m each year to support 3,450 free ATMs. The network aims to increase the number of free ATMs, which are declining across the UK.

Access to NatWest Bank on Wheels, Cash Banking
Many of the UK’s largest retail banks have already embraced the concept of mobile banking.
mobile banking

New banking “pods” and community banking will certainly help people in more populous areas access face-to-face banking services. But those who haven’t yet made the digital leap and live in remote areas still have no choice.

One possible solution is one that many banks have already adopted. such as Barclays nut west and RBS All offer a fully mobile branch. Barclays’ flexible banking strategy also included plans to add six of his electric vehicles to its existing fleet. In addition, the UK’s largest bank will provide 16 vehicles to cover more remote areas.

However, Barclays banking vans do not offer access to cash or counter services. Bang aims to help educate people on how to use banking apps to achieve desired results.

NatWest, RBS, and lloyds bank, still includes cash deposit and withdrawal features. The service has existed in one form or another for years, but many have been cut back since the pandemic. Review of Lloyds Bank Due to the declining number of users, after 2021 we will scale back the mobile branch and only run the service every other week. Even after scaling down the service.

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