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Leading British-owned banks in the United Kingdom 2015-2017, by number of branches

With the rise of online banking, and the speed and convenience that it brings, the presence of physical bank branches has become less important. According to a report published by Payments Cards & Mobile, the most prominent change in bank branches can be seen with the UK's big four (Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank Plc, Lloyds Bank Plc and HSBC Bank Plc). Each has seen a closure of approximately 200 banks between 2015 and 2017. On a long-term level, the difference in bank branches open in the UK is even more severe.


The closure of bank branches is not only bad news for customers in rural and specific regional areas. Arguably the biggest tragedy of this whole process has been the loss of employment. Between 2009 and 2017, employment in credit institutions has fallen by approximately 360 thousand. UK banks have been no exception to this fall in employment with banks such as Barclays, Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland all being hit.

Key reasons behind closures

The decline in physical bank branches has often been linked to the rise of online and mobile banking. Whereas this is certainly true in some areas of Europe, others have been slower to adapt to the future of banking. In truth, bank closures have become a way of decreasing expenditure as profit margins become tighter. This, in line with need for Europe’s banks to secure enough capital and stop a repeat of the last financial crisis. This is particularly true for several the UK’s largest banks who performed amongst the worst during the 2018 EU wide stress test.

Number of branches at leading British-owned banks in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2015 to 2017

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In cooperation with
Payments Card Yearbook
Release date

November 2018


United Kingdom

Survey time period

2015 to 2017

Supplementary notes

* The source adds the following information: "Standard Charted Bank is a multi-national bank with businesses outside the UK."
** Metro Bank data as at end-Feb 2018; Nationwide BS data as at April 2018.

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Statistics on "Barclays Group in the United Kingdom "

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