UK retail banking sector shrinks further as TSB announces 36 closures
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TSB Bank will close down 36 of its branches across the UK, cutting 250 jobs in the process and further reducing the size of the British retail banking sector.

Like several other major high street banks, TSB has cited a decline in retail usage as being the main reason behind its decision. Across the country, UK banks are finding that customers are increasingly using digital services instead of bricks-and-mortar locations.

Quoted in the Daily Mirror, a TSB spokesperson said: “The decision to close a branch is never taken lightly, but our customers are now doing most of their banking digitally and we need to move to a better balance of digital and face-to-face services. 

“We remain committed to a national branch network and through innovation and integration with video, telephone, digital, branch and other face-to-face services TSB customers have more ways to bank with us than ever before.”

The past six months have seen Lloyds, Barclays and Metro Bank among some of the big names cutting back their services. Lloyds notably called a close on its mobile banking division, meaning a van-based in-person banking service and not its app, back in January 2024.

This followed a series of high-street closures. Meanwhile, Barclays announced plans to close 18 branches in December. Lastly, Metro Bank initiated a review late last year into its opening hours.

Not all banks have experienced the same thing, however. Nationwide stated earlier this year that it has seen an upsurge in cash withdrawals from physical locations. The bank is also in the possession of significantly expanding its retail banking network via a takeover of rival Virgin Money.

Regardless, the general reduction in physical banking services – although driven by consumer demand according to the banks – has become a cause of concern for some. The Labour Party, for example, has been critical of this, arguing that some communities and demographics are being left without access to physical banking.

TSB’s plans have also earned criticism from Unite the Union, one of the UK’s biggest general unions with a large membership base in the retail sector. The Union has taken aim chiefly at the job cuts which will result from the closures.

Unite Regional Officer, Andy Case, said: “The decision by TSB to cut 250 roles is a grave mistake. These workers perform essential work in the fraud departments and across the branch network.

“Through extensive negotiations Unite has been able to substantially reduce the number of jobs at risk. However, that isn’t sufficient, the union is pressing TSB to urgently reconsider its damaging bank branch closures plan. At a time when customers are increasingly concerned about financial fraud and often need support from a local bank branch this is the wrong course of action.

“TSB customers will rightly be concerned by today’s news and they will undoubtedly suffer a downgrade in service from these job cuts.

“Unite will hold fresh negotiations with TSB about ways of further reducing job losses and it will be fully supporting its members affected by the announcement.”