Unite, the union which represents staff working in bank branches across the country, will today (Monday 18 November) launch a campaign to ‘Save Bank Branches’.
Outside a high street bank branch staff will stage a photo opportunity to launch the campaign to oppose the ever increasing number of local branch closures.
Research has found that two thirds of the UK’s bank branches have closed in the past 30 years.
The event will be attended by current and former bank staff, senior Unite officers, Unite members and leader Brighton & Hove City Council, Nancy Platts.
Dominic Hook, Unite national officer said: “The scale of bank branch closures over the last decade has been unprecedented. The damage done to local communities, small businesses and staff as a result of the decision of the banking sector to abandon local banking is devastating.
“How do communities survive when customers cannot access cash, small businesses cannot do their banking locally and the elderly and vulnerable cannot get the local financial expertise they need?”
Rob MacGregor, Unite national officer said: “The banking sector must come forward with greater transparency around branch closure plans. The constant flow of closures is causing havoc to our high streets. The banks must stop abandoning local communities which bring the sector its vast profits.
“No app, robot, website or telephone system can replace the experience and skills of local bank branch staff based in your community.”
At the event the union will launch a Unite Tool Kit which sets out the challenges that bank branch closures bring to staff in the sector, local economies and communities, small businesses and the most vulnerable members of our society. The kit sets out the Unite response to branch closures and what Unite members can do when faced with the closure of their branch.
WHERE: RBS branch Old Steine Brighton - junction Castle Square, St James Street and Old Steine, Brighton, BN1.
WHEN: Monday 18 November at 13:00.
Staff will be holding placards and flags demanding banks ‘Keep Bank Branches Open’ and stating ‘Customers Need Local Banks’. There will also be a 6ft board with the new Unite bank branch toolkit which is a campaigning tool to save our high streets.
Ian Bradbury, CTO for Financial Services, Fujitsu:
“It is concerning to see the rate at which local bank branches are continuing to close across the UK. The rise of digital banking is exciting and brings a whole host of benefits for consumers, but as we move towards a cashless society it shouldn’t be at the expense of the 2.2 million people in the UK who rely on cash on a daily basis. Should too many branches close and take their free-to-use ATMs with them, there could be unpredictable consequences for consumers as well as a number of industries such as hospitality and retail.
“While having a physical presence on the high street and maintaining ATMs may be challenging due to the high costs of operations, there should still be a push to ensure that access to in-store services and cash is easy in all areas. Technology can help to streamline certain processes; for example, some emerging technologies and advanced computing techniques can optimise cash management and distribution, which could significantly reduce the cost of cash handling and create a more efficient ATM network.
“Ultimately, financial services organisations have a shared responsibility to ensure that their customers are being supported no matter where they live or how they choose to bank.”