A drop in footfall means RBS, HSBC, and Barclays could all be about to close more branches around the country

Billy Bambrough
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Barclays, HSBC and RBS are all stuck with expensive branch networks while new digital banks have lower costs (Source: Getty)

A continuing slide in the number of people using bank branches means three of Britain's biggest banks could be considering closing the doors on hundreds between them this year.

RBS, HSBC, and Barclays have all said they are reviewing the number of branches they operate but were unable to comment on specific numbers.

It was earlier reported by Reuters that combined the banks could close as many as 400 branches between them but the banks dismissed the figure as too high.

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Barclays said in a statement:

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.

According to RBS:

We review our branch network regularly to make sure the services we provide are appropriate for each local community, based on our customers' usage and other ways to bank in the local area.

HSBC said:

We continually review our branch network to make sure our branches are in the right locations for our customers and we have a sustainable network for the future. Over the past five years, we have seen an overall reduction of footfall at our branches of more than 40 per cent, and sometimes we have to make the difficult decision to close branches.

Rules brought in last year mean that the country's biggest banks must assess the impact of a branches closure on the local community before making a decision to shutter it in an attempt to stem a tide of closures over the last few decades.

Each of the banks have said they remain committed to their branch networks and have no plans to pull out of the high street altogether.

Bank branch numbers acorss the UK continue to slide however, with data last year from consultancy McKinsey finding as many as 2,400 bank branches could close over the next five years.

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There are currently just under 10,000 bank branches on the countries high streets, with around 2,000 having shut their doors over the last five years.

The flight from the high street comes as traditional banks come under increased pressure from lower cost digital-only start ups, such as Atom bank which launched on iOS devices today.

Earlier this year Lloyds Bank Group announced a fresh round of branch closures.

It was reported last week that Spanish challenger bank Santander is considering laying off many of its senior management to free up cash for digital expansion.

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