The decline of bank branch visits
October 3rd, 2023, YouGov

The decline of bank branch visits

The FT recently reported that one in eight bank branches that were open at the start of 2023 will have closed by the year’s conclusion. It’s news that won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been following our regular tracker of consumer bank branch visits.

Among the general public, the proportion who said they “never” visit a bank branch increased from 8% to 15%; the number who said they did so “hardly ever, if at all” rose from 27% to 36%. We can therefore say that half of Britons (51%) either seldom visit their bank or eschew visits entirely.

Among those who visit their branch sometimes, 9% say they visit at least once every 2-3 months, 11% once every 3-6 months, 15% at least once a year, and 9% less than once a year. So for much of the public, losing access to a bank branch may not be a major sacrifice – even if they might like having the option.

Delving deeper into the data, we can see that 18-24 year olds are more likely to say they never use their bank branch (20% compared to 14% in July 2019), with 32% also saying they hardly ever use it (compared to 28%); overall, 52% seldom do so. The next oldest grouping of 25-49 year olds are less likely to say they never visit their bank (15% compared to 8% in July 2019), but more likely to say they hardly ever do so (39% compared to 28% in July 2019) – 54% overall.

This tendency to avoid a physical branch is even present among older generations. Some 15% of Britons aged 50-64 say they hardly ever visit their bank (compared to 7% in July 2019), and 35% say they hardly ever do so (compared to 30% in July 2019); making up half (50%) of this group in total. Over-65s are the least keen to forgo bank branches entirely: 13% say they never visit in-person (vs. 8% in July 2019), while 34% say they hardly ever do so (compared to 20% in July 2019).

Overall, whether we attribute it to COVID-19, improving technology, or decreasing use of cash, the deterioration in bank branch visits is a fairly consistent trend across age groups.