Vulnerable households in the UK could be left behind as people struggle to access cash due to an unprecedented rate of high street bank branch closures.
Around 226 banks are set to shut by the end of this year, taking the total number of closures to 325, according to data from cash machine network Link (the full list of branches is on a spreadsheet on the Link website).
Barclays (BARC.L) became the latest bank to announce additional closures, with 10 more bank branches leaving the high street as more people bank online, which means less people are visiting banks in person.
A Barclays spokesperson said: "We continue to review and adjust our branch footprint to ensure it reflects the way that our customers are increasingly choosing to do their banking.
"We will always give twelve weeks’ notice of any branch closures, explaining the rationale for the decision, as well as highlighting alternative branches and ways to bank."
The figures come as several banks have already slashed the number of branches they operate.
It confirmed 48 Lloyds sites and 18 Halifax branches will shut down as part of a wider trend which has seen larger lenders ditch the high street.
It is thought that around 5.4 million adults rely on cash to a great extent or very great extent in their daily lives, with the closures leaving households without access to face-to-face banking.
A report from the Scottish Affairs committee in July warned half a million Scots who are dependent on cash risk being cut off from accessing their money as banks ramp up branch closures.
More than half (53%) of all bank branches in Scotland have shut down since 2015. This represents the highest percentage loss across the UK’s four nations.
Separate analysis from consumer group Which? shows 4,685 bank branches have shut their doors.
Which? warned that elderly consumers, those aged 65 and over, who are most likely to reply on cash as a payment method, made up 23% of the population across the 17 areas with poor access to cash.
Meanwhile, the UK government recently confirmed that the FCA would be given powers to make sure cash remained accessible.
The powers will authorise the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to impose measures on UK banks and building societies to ensure the continued availability of withdrawal and deposit facilities in local communities across the country.
In June, the FCA criticised lenders for not thoroughly examining how branch closures affect their customers, telling them to consult more widely before taking action.
Full list of all the banks closing branches across the UK by December:
Barclays 81 branches
HSBC (HSBA.L) 56
NatWest (NWG.L) 15
Royal Bank of Scotland 13
Bank of Scotland 11
Ulster Bank 9
Nationwide (NBS.L) 8
Danske Bank (DANSKE.CO) 4
Santander (BNC.L) 1
All the closures will affect banks in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
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