How the world of banking is changing

Increasingly consumers young and old are turning to online services for most of their everyday needs and banking requirements are no exception. Whereas traditionally consumers preferred the resources offered in-branch when it came to banking matters, nowadays the average consumer and the manner they wish to manage their money has changed. More and more consumers are looking to the resources offered by online banking in order to conduct a whole host of different banking based tasks. Whether this means managing their money in a general sense, moving money from one account to another or setting up new standing orders, these are just a few of the services which can now be done online. In fact, one of only things you can’t do online is physically pull cash out! With this in mind then it is not surprising that online and of course mobile banking, is quickly becoming the number one way to bank in the UK.

With an ever increasing number of consumers opting to bank online rather than in-branch, this has resulted in many of the high-street banks beginning to disappear. All of the major banks here in the UK have reported a number of branch closures up and down the country in the year of 2016 and with online trends only ever increasing for most consumer marketplaces, it is likely the number of closures will only continue in years to come. Notably more and more older generations are catching up with the younger generations and in doing so taking advantage of the convenience of online banking and its cross-section of services offered. This shift from online banking being a service predominately favoured by younger generations to one of cross-generation use means that in simple terms in-branch services are not as widely needed as was the case in years gone by.

A recent discussion on the Daily Mail online highlighted this fact when they reported in detail just how many branches up and down the country are, or already have, closed. In the last 2 years alone it has been reported that as many as 1000 high-street branches have closed their doors. It would appear that HSBC are leading the way in terms of reduction of branches and to date there have been 321 UK branches closed. Perhaps though, a more shocking figure, is that Co-Op Bank have closed over 50% of their total branches in the last 2 years, highlighting just how much consumer demand for in-store banking facilities have changed in recent times. Ultimately, all major UK banks have a responsibility to deliver a service to their customers; through means of their choosing. This is where for some the issue of internet connectively can cause dis-satisfaction. In areas where higher powered internet connections are yet to be available, the option of online or mobile banking becomes less generally accessible. It is in these areas where consumers are much more likely to rely upon the services of in-branch services. Where branches in such areas have already been closed, customers are having to go to greater lengths to access their banking requirements. Whether this means accessing the internet in a less favourable location, be that at work or otherwise for example, or even travelling to another town to visit the nearest branch. This of course is not ideal for individual consumers or even general communities who now face such circumstances when wanting readily available access to their banking needs.

The major UK banks will have to ensure the needs of their customers continue to be met in coming years and this is not exclusive to those who prefer online banking. In fact, even in instances where they do, there is an obvious requirement to work closely and in parallel with true and realistic deliverables in terms of broadband connectivity. Whilst the internet and its wealth of resources are undeniably our greatest consumer tool to date, this does not mean it is the only method of consumer interaction which is favoured. UK banks will need to ensure consumers have a fair and rounded service reflective of their local area and the facilities it is capable of delivering. Whilst it appears the number of bank branches in the UK is set to continue to decline, it will be increasing to see how this possibility is adequately positioned alongside known internet connectivity issues across the UK. Being that the UK currently ranks somewhere in the region of 50th in the world for its speed of internet connectivity capabilities, it is important that UK banks do not close their doors before the horse has bolted.

 

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Author: Internal Customer Services Agent