Yet another bank branch earmarked for the chop

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The axe is set to fall on yet another Wigan bank branch.

The latest victim of the remorseless march of technology will be the Barclays outlet within the Asda hypermarket at Newtown.

It is one of another 54 branches it is planning to close down in the coming weeks and Newtown will cash its final cheque on October 27. The move will bring its total number of Barclays closures in 2017 to 67 across the UK.

In a statement, the bank said along with a number of high street lenders, the closures are linked to the growing demand for digital services – such as the increasing shift towards immediate online and app banking facilities. A spokesman confirmed the closures will not result in any job losses, adding:

“The number of physical Barclays branches will reduce overall but our branch network and the colleagues who work in them remain a vital part of our offering. We will continue to evolve the shape and size of our branch network, as well as improving and investing in the experience in-branch.

We also provide our customers with a range of digital channels.” There was a time when there was a bank to be found in every modest-sized Wigan community upwards – sometimes several per town and village. But it was as early as the mid-1990s that branch closures began, one of the first being the NatWest in Shevington.

Few townships have been spared since as transactions are increasingly carried out digitally. According to consumer platform Which?, over 1,000 high street bank branches were axed between January 2015 and January 2017 alone, with HSBC the worst offender.


Building society’s account deadline axed

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A deadline for the closure of current accounts with the Norwich and Peterborough (N&P) has been cancelled, with 30% of customers still to receive letters explaining the move.

It was announced in January that the building society’s brand is to be abolished, some branches closed, and current accounts shut down.

The plan was for customers to move or close accounts by the end of August.

But its owner, the Yorkshire Building Society, now says there is no deadline.

The Yorkshire – the UK’s second biggest mutual – said that about 35% of the 100,000 customers affected had already closed their current account, switched to another bank, or was in the process of doing so.

It was staggering the flow of letters to affected customers to avoid a rush of inquiries, and has now written to 70% of those affected.

The remaining letters will be sent by the end of July.

‘Real shame’

The Yorkshire will close 28 N&P branches this year. The remaining branches will be rebranded as Yorkshire Building Society branches.

A spokeswoman for the Yorkshire said: “We are continuing to work closely with other financial providers in assisting customers to switch or close their account. We’re writing to customers with details of what they need to do next, and asking that customers complete the closure or switch of their account within six months of receiving their letter. We have not set a final date for closure.

“If a customer has not taken steps to close or switch their account within six months of receiving of their letter, we will work closely with the customer on a case-by-case basis to facilitate a switch or closure.”

In the meantime, no customers would be blocked from depositing money or conducting any normal banking transactions via their current account, she said.

The N&P is not part of the Current Account Switching Service so the process will be slower than could have been the case, taking about 12 days.

It was feared that some cash incentives to switch offered by rivals would not have applied, but many providers are now offering the perks to customers moving from the N&P.

Mike Regnier, chief executive of the Yorkshire Building Society, told BBC Radio 4’s Money Box earlier this year that it was a “real shame” that the accounts had to close. He said that too much investment would be required to keep the current accounts compliant with regulation if offered by the mutual. Instead it is to concentrate on savings and mortgage products.


Which bank branches is TSB going to close?

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More high street bank branches are set to close after TSB said it would shut a further 29 sites this year as its customers move online.

The challenger bank, which was spun out of Lloyds Banking Group and is now owned by Spanish lender Sabadell, said that no jobs would be lost as a result of the closures, as staff will be offered alternative roles at other sites and many employees already work in more than one TSB branch. However, it takes the total number of TSB sites that will close this year to 38, leaving TSB with 550 branches. A list of the branches that are set to disappear is below. “While we continue to focus on upgrading the branches that people use most, some locations are very quiet, serving fewer than 200 people a week,” TSB said. “In some cases this is because there is another branch less than a mile away.”

Thousands of bank branches have closed in recent years as more and more Britons choose to carry out their banking online. Last month, HSBC revealed that it would cut as many as 180 jobs after deciding to close an extra 62 branches, taking the total number of sites it will shutter in 2017 to 117 in a move that should bring an end to its wide-ranging branch shedding programme. In December, consumer group Which? found that HSBC had closed the doors at 321 branches since January 2015, accounting for some 27pc of its network and the highest number closures of any UK lender over that period.

While TSB is closing some branches, the challenger bank is also investing in areas where it enjoys much heavier footfall. It is in the middle of a £250m plan to overhaul branches and its digital services and said today that it had refurbished more than 150 locations in the past two years. The lender added: “There will still be a TSB branch within two miles of 42pc of the population and we will continue to invest in our network. “While the vast majority of bill payments and other similar tasks are now done online, half of new current accounts are still opened face to face and many people also prefer to deal with important transactions, such as taking out a mortgage, face to face.”

List of TSB branches set to close:

Aberdeen (Woodside)

Altrincham

Beith

Birmingham (Priory)

Birmingham (Small Heath)

Bridge of Allan

Cambuslang

Cardenden

Dalry

Dunblane

Edinburgh (Sighthill)

Glasgow (Braehead)

Glasgow (Charing Cross)

Glasgow (Maryhill)

Goring-on-Thames

Grimsby (Fiveways)

Huddersfield (Ramsden Street)

Kirriemuir

Linlithgow

Lochgelly

Manchester (Cross Street)

Nottingham (Sneinton Dale)

Otley

Paisley (Neilston Road)

Sheffield (Charles Street)

Sherborne

Southampton (London Road)

Tranent

Troon


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