BOSSES of the four major banks have insisted they'll keep branches open after a grilling from MPs.
Leaders of Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Natwest met today for a meeting in parliament.
MPs grilled them on topics like how they're going to protect customers from scams, help them navigate high mortgage rates and kickstart savings.
But one area they were also questioned on was the closure of branches – and all insisted they stay committed to keeping them open.
Speaking to the Treasury Committee about branch closures, Ian Stuart, chief executive of HSBC UK, said the bank is “absolutely committed to a physical footprint in the UK”.
He said: “We think it’s important, but we have to get it scaled properly for the long term."
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Ian also told the committee that 98% of the bank’s transactions in December were digital.
Also speaking at the meeting was Dame Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest Group.
She said: “We’re seeing significant shifts in customer behaviour.
“But we recognise we need to look after all of our customers and make sure that we support particularly vulnerable customers.”
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Lloyds Banking Group chief executive Charlie Nunn added: “We remain very committed to our branch network.”
Bosses were also asked about borrowers and the mortgage market after rates jumped following the Autumn Budget.
Dame Alison said there was “huge disruption during the mini-budget when we saw gilts and the swap rate grow very quickly”.
She said that, while mortgage rates are coming down, the bank is helping customers to look at their balance sheets “and find the right answer for them”.
The grilling customers after thousands of bank branches have shut their doors.
Research by Which? last year found that nearly 5,000 bank branches closed.
The closures come as more people turn to digital and online banking.
And data from LINK revealed that there are still 266 planned closures for 2023 and a number have already pulled down their shutters this year.
HSBC is set to close 114 branches and NatWest will bring down the shutters on 52 branches.
Lloyds Bank will shut 23 outlets and Barclays will close 41.
TSB is to close nine branches this year.
Meanwhile, Halifax will close 20 branches and Santander will close five. Nationwide will close two branches.
We've got the full list of bank branch closures this year here.
There are other ways people can access their cash, such as banking hubs and Post Offices.
YOU can use one of the Post Office’s 11,635 branches to perform basic banking tasks — but not open new bank accounts or take personal loans and mortgages.
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Banking hubs, which offer traditional services, have been set up in four locations around the UK to help plug the gap — in Brixham, Devon; Cambuslang near Glasgow; Cottingham, East Yorks; and Rochford, Essex.
Nine others were announced last week, while a new company, Cash Access UK, has been set up to oversee more.
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