News & Views - Savantor

The evolution of high street banking

Saturday, 09 April 2016

Reducing staff and the closure of bank branches is a theme which has seemed to be prevalent throughout the past month. This is not limited to the UK market with cuts announced by both Santander in Spain and DNB in Norway as well as RBS in the UK. This is a theme which has been prevalent throughout 2016 so far, with RBS, for example, announcing the loss of almost 1,600 jobs this year to date and Lloyds also cutting 1,750 jobs and 26 branches as part of a 3-year plan. Whilst there are many reasons behind the closures, ranging from automation and better technology to reduced customer footfall in branches, this is a trend which seems likely to continue as Banks, particularly the high street institutions, review their strategies in the light of current market and customer behavior changes and the resulting impact upon profitability. This month also saw the launch of the first digital-only bank in the UK.

Atom Bank will initially be offering loans and savings accounts but are intending to follow this with a current account later this year; the Bank will no doubt hold particular appeal for many 'techno-savvy' customers who are comfortable with their mobile phone being the instrument of choice for conducting payment activity. New entrants of this kind into the financial services arena are likely to make it even more difficult for traditional banks to survive in their current format.

We are in the midst of a fast moving environment which, whilst it unfortunately and inevitably has casualties in its development and restructuring, is nevertheless exciting to watch and be part of as it morphs and moves forward. Who would have thought, a couple of years ago, that Barclays would be offering its branches to provide a 'Click and Collect' Service for Amazon in an attempt to establish a new function and increase footfall for the local bank branch?

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