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BBA launches review into branch closure protocol

06 May 2016  |  6171 views  |  3 Lloyds branch

With many of its members closing large numbers of branches, trade association the British Banking Association is launching an independent review into the protocol on minimising the impact of closures on customers.

As banks drastically cut the size of their branch networks in response to the migration of customers to digital channels, last March the biggest high street players worked with consumer groups and government on an industry-wide agreement on closure procedures.

The protocol requires banks to provide 12 weeks' notice of branch closures, engage with local communities and to publish assessments of the impact on customers - but stresses that decisions on whether to close sites are ultimately commercial.

The agreement included a provision for a one year review, which is now being carried out for the BBA by Professor Russel Griggs, looking into how the protocol is being applied and the outcomes for affected customers and communities.

Says Griggs: "It’s vital that the protocol meets its aim of minimising the impact of bank branch closures on customers and local communities. This review will not only be looking at how the processes behind the protocol are working in practice, but also crucially the outcomes that they are delivering."

Already this year both Lloyds and RBS have outlined plans to reduce the size of their branch networks as they bid to cut costs and take advantage of the growing popularity of online and mobile banking.

But a survey last year by TSB found that more than three quarters of Brits think that it is important that their bank offers both online and branch services.

Anthony Browne, chief executive, BBA, says: "More and more of us are adopting digital services to manage our money while on the move, without having to travel to a branch. Banking is in the midst of a customer-led revolution. It is important, however, that customers still have access to banking services if a local bank branch closes for commercial reasons."

Comments: (3)

Richard Sanders
Richard Sanders - Hermosa Consulting - Southend on Sea 06 May, 2016, 14:16

This is good as there are a number of options for revamping being explored in many countries including the UK. The other side of this particular coin is getting the paranoid risk departments of banks to grant people access to internet banking. For my business Lloyds made me fill out a 23 page questionnaire and then told me my signature did not match the one they had on file(even though I had personal internet banking). When I pointed out that I had to fit my signature to teh stupid little box on the form they then lost everything and we went back to stage 1 where they sent me the link again. Not great customer service to someone who has been with them over 20 years

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Hitesh Thakkar
Hitesh Thakkar - FIS Payments Software and Services India - India 06 May, 2016, 15:52

Hi Richard +1. Me and my friends also undergone similar situation in India while applying for education loan. We left with less than week to re-work on entire process to ensure fees are paid on Time.

3/4th of customers in UK expecting online as well as offline services reinfroce that, brick and mortar branches will remain in some Format.

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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 06 May, 2016, 17:07

@RichardSanders + 1. 

I too had an extremely tough time getting Internet Banking for my company's bank account despite having had it for over 5 years on my personal bank account. I had to finally escalate to Branch Manager to get things moving. 

I applied for an ATM card for my company's bank account. As soon as I sensed a repeat of the above torturous process, I withdrew my application - I didn't want to waste my time and I also thought cash would be dead soon anyway:). http://qwt.io/s_ketharaman/z6Dx

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