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Young people are becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of access to local banking services according to research by Nationwide.

One of the UK’s leading retail banks conducted a poll of 2,000 people, examining opinions on retail banking access across the UK. The poll found that 73% of people overall are concerned about the rate of bank closures in the UK, and 48% said they were frustrated to find a bank closed when needed.

A further 70% of customers stated that they value local branches, of which 41% revealed that retail banking is important for vulnerable people. Demographically, 21% of 16-to-24 year old customers cited this as a reason, as did 28% of 25-24 year olds.

The research comes after a plethora of bank closures in the UK over the past year. Lloyds, Barclays, Metro Bank, Sainsbury’s and TSB are just some of the prominent firms to announce cutbacks to in-person banking services over the past year.

This has followed a trend, observed by many high-profile banks, whereby customers have been increasingly moving from physical to digital banking services. Nationwide’s survey appears to suggest this is not as all encompassing as some have believed, however.

Stephen Noakes, Director of Retail at Nationwide, said: “What’s clear from our research is that people of all ages are frustrated and concerned about the rate of branch closures. 

“Our own customers tell us how much they rely on them. This is why we are proud to have Britain’s biggest branded branch network, a manager in every branch and a commitment to stay everywhere we have a branch until at least 2028.”

According to Nationwide, banking customers of all ages place value in local bank branches. The bank’s data shows 44% of customers use banking services for cash withdrawals and a further 27% for checking balance.

Meanwhile, 19% use retail banks to transfer large sums of money, 38% prefer face-to-face help on fraud and scams. Focusing in on the 25-34 demographic, the bank found that 35% use retail locations for cash withdrawals, 26% for checking balances and 22% for transferring large sums.

The publication of Nationwide’s data comes at a time when the bank is an outlier in the UK high-street banking sector. As noted above, the UK is seeing a general withdrawal of brick and mortar banking operations due to the proliferation of digital services.

In contrast, Nationwide has been stepping up its efforts. The bank has guaranteed its customers it will not close any local branches before 2028, and earlier this year purchased Virgin Money – one of its key rivals – to enhance its retail presence.

The company has also noted an increase in physical cash usage across its customer-base over the past year. Nationwide attributed this to consumers finding it easier to budget using physical cash at a time of increased living costs and inflation.

British banking is becoming more of a political issue in recent months, particularly in the context of a looming general election. The opposition Labour Party has been particularly vocal about bank closures under the Conservative government, and both parties have been developing and announcing policies around banking, payments and financial technology.