Virgin Money plans to close 39 of its UK bank branches due to the increasing shift towards online banking, as fewer people utilize physical branches.
The news follows the closure of branches by several High Street banks, including Lloyds and Halifax.
According to the Unite union, “access to a bank and cash is an essential requirement” for local High Streets.
Virgin Money announced that the closures constitute one-third of its banks, putting 255 workers at risk of redundancy.
The firm’s Chief Operating Officer, Sarah Wilkinson, stated that they would explore all possibilities to retain as many staff as possible in alternative positions.
The list of banks set for closure includes: Belfast, Croydon, Harrow, Newton Stewart, Bournemouth, Derby, Hexham, Norwich, Brighton, Durham, Irvine, Oxford, Bristol, Ellon, Kendal, Reading, Bromley, Enfield, Kensington, Southampton, Cambridge, Exeter, Kingston, St Albans, Cardiff, Fort William, Liverpool, Swindon, Chelmsford, Golders Green, Lochgilphead, Turriff, Cheltenham, Gosforth Centre, London Haymarket, Wolverhampton, Chester, Guildford, and Milton Keynes.
Branch visits decline as Lloyds Banking Group announced the closure of 66 branches between October 2022 and January 2023.
In a subsequent announcement in January, the group revealed that Halifax would close 18 sites, and Lloyds would shut an additional 22 branches between April and June.
However, these closures have resulted in cash shortages in certain cases. For instance, when Lloyds Bank closed in Herefordshire, traders were compelled to travel long distances with their earnings.
Virgin Money stated, “The utilization of bank branches for day-to-day transactions has been consistently declining for several years.” Additionally, the branches set for closure experienced a 43% reduction in customer transaction volumes.
According to Virgin Money, approximately 96% of customers utilize the branches less than once a month. The company also pointed out that each closing store is within a distance of less than half a mile from the nearest Post Office, which customers can use for their day-to-day transactions.
In May, Age UK expressed concerns that older or vulnerable individuals might face challenges with online banking and advocated for more “banking hubs.” These hubs are spaces shared by several High Street lenders and are intended to support communities that have experienced the closure of all their bank branches.
Following the closures, Virgin Money revealed that it will maintain a network of 91 stores across the UK.
Source : bbc.com