A third of banks in Scotland have closed since 2010, a report by Which? has shown.
The consumer watchdog, which argues that “urgent regulatory action” is needed, found that 610 banks and building societies have closed between 2010 and 2018. The overall total has dropped from 1,625 to just 1,015..
Jim Tomaney, chief operating officer at Renovite Technologies, said of the report;
“The decision to close bank branches unjustly penalises significant portions of Scottish society and, in particular, people and businesses in remoter areas of the country. What’s frustrating is that many of the services that bank branches offer, like loans for consumers or cash-deposits for businesses, could be replicated using cloud technology to create Smart ATMs or a ‘bank-in-a-box’.
Unfortunately, most banks aren’t yet prepared to invest in updated technology and infrastructure to bring about that change. The vast majority of today’s banks still rely on infrastructure designed back in the 1980s and 1990s which are incredibly hard to add innovative new services to, which is why financial exclusion is becoming more and more of a problem.”
The consumer watchdog, which argues that “urgent regulatory action” is needed, found that 610 banks and building societies have closed between 2010 and 2018.
Whilst Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which?, commented;
“These ongoing closures could have a huge impact on communities across Scotland, stripping millions of people reliant on cash of their ability to go about their daily lives.
Cash is also a vital backup when digital systems fail – so the UK government must appoint a regulator to oversee these changes and ensure no-one is shut out from paying for local goods and services.”
Major cities have been hit hardest, with the south-west of Edinburgh facing the most closures. Bank branches in the borough have been cut from 165 to a mere 30. Glasgow Central has met a similar fate, having lost 70 branches, while Edinburgh North and Leith lost 65 and Edinburgh East 45.
In a painful irony, RBS has closed the most branches (158 of the 399 banks that have closed since 2015) despite being on taxpayer-funded life support since the financial crisis.