Thursday 28 January 2021 11:09 am

UK banks urged to scrap branch closures during lockdown

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority has today told banks to rethink moves to close branches during lockdown.

The FCA said banks should consider the impact of national restrictions on their ability to comply with regulatory guidance on closing branches.

The authority released a statement today urging banks to consult any customers that are affected directly.

The FCA said: “We are concerned that these activities could have significant consequences for customers.

“It may be harder than usual to reach all customers under the current restrictions and engage with them on closure proposals effectively.”

Digital banking surge

Earlier this month, HSBC revealed plans to axe 82 branches across the UK after a drop in footfall across its retail network and a surge in digital banking.

The FCA are concerned that closures could have significant consequences for customers, particularly those needing in-branch services and without access to online banking.

The authority expects firms to ensure vulnerable and hard-to-reach customers are aware of the proposals and to deliver clear alternatives during this period of national restrictions.

Where appropriate, the FCA encouraged banks to engage with customers to understand their needs and properly consider the individual impacts of closures.