Half of people aged 16-24 have been left frustrated after finding their local branch closed when they needed it. The claim is made by Nationwide, the UK’s largest building society.

UK branch density: second lowest in Europe

Over 6,000 UK bank and building society branches have closed since 2015. A further 645 branches are set to close this year.

Total UK bank branches will fall to around 4,000 once those closures take effect. With a population of 68 million, the UK branch density is about 5.8 branches per 100,000 people. That represents the second-lowest branch density in Europe after the Netherlands.

Research revealed by Nationwide reveals that 73% of UK consumers are concerned about the rate of closures. It says that around half (48%) are frustrated to find a branch closed when they needed it.

The research found 70% of consumers still value branches. When asked why they valued branches, 41% called out the importance for vulnerable people. More than one in five (21%) 16 to 24s also recognise this as a key reason. This figure rises to 28% for 25 to34s and continues to rise with age.

All age groups value the role of branches

Nationwide’s research highlights all age groups value the role of branches. Moreover, they are used for a range of reasons and not just day-to-day transactions.

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These include cash withdrawals (44%) and checking balances (28%). People also use branches to transfer large amounts of money (19%) and prefer face-to-face help on fraud and scams (38%).  The top reasons people aged 25 to 34 use branches include paying cash in and taking cash out (35%) checking balances (26%) and transferring large amounts of money (22%).

Nationwide: now the UK’s biggest branded branch network

Nationwide now has the UK’s biggest branded branch network as a result of large-scale bank branch closures in recent years. The building society recently extended its branch promise. That means everywhere it has a branch today, it will remain there until at least the start of 2028.

Stephen Noakes, Director of Retail at Nationwide said: “What’s clear from our research is that people of all ages are frustrated and concerned about the rate of branch closures. Our own customers tell us how much they rely on them. This is why we are proud to have Britain’s biggest branded branch network, a manager in every branch and a commitment to stay everywhere we have a branch until at least 2028.”