Research found there are currently 2,343 vacant premises previously occupied by a bank or building society branch. Greater London accounts for the highest percentage of all empty branches
Image: Bloomberg via Getty Images)
More than 2,300 closed bank and building society branches are still standing empty – dozens of them for more than a decade.
Analysis for the Daily Mirror found some former branches have been boarded-up or abandoned for 12 years, blighting the nearby high streets.
It comes as lenders press ahead with a vast number of new closures, that saves them a packet but which they blame on a shift by customers to online banking.
Research by the Local Data Company found there are currently 2,343 vacant premises previously occupied by a bank or building society branch.
Greater London accounts for the highest percentage of all empty branches, at 15.7%, followed by the North West (13.2%), and the wider South East (12.8%).
The North West has the highest bank branch vacancy rate, with just under a third of its former banks currently lying empty.
Of all empty banks, 57% have been for less than three years, but 15% – 352 branches – have been unlet for more than five years.
Thirty branches are still abandoned at least 10 years after they first closed.
They include the former HSBC branch in Longtown, Cumbria, which shut in 2010.
Lillian Riding, who works next door at the Gretna Bakery and Cafe, said: “It’s become an eyesore.
“Someone bought it and was going to use it for storage but nothing’s happened to it since.
“Now it’s just boarded-up and forgotten.”
The next bank nearest is eight miles away in Carlisle.
Bloomberg via Getty Images)
While locals in Longtown are left with the building blighting their high street, HSBC has long since moved on, recently announcing annual profits doubled to £13.9billion.
Another bank empty since 2010 is the former Lloyds Bank on Silver Street in Hull.
Photographs advertising the building for rent show its impressive former banking hall and domed glass ceiling.
However, the agent marketing the premises explained the rates bill, cost of converting the building, use of the upper floors and restricted windows had all deterred would-be new tenants.
Sean Birch, from nearby shipping equipment and chart firm B Cooke and Son, said: “It’s been closed so long people just walk past it.”
The nearby RBS branch on Silver Street is due to shut for good on Thursday next week.
Parent company Natwest last month announced a further 32 closures this year, Barclays’ annual report revealed nearly 300 branches had closed in the past two years, including 104 – two every week – in 2021.
Jenny Ross, Which? Money Editor, said: “The seemingly relentless closure of bank branches will leave the millions of people who rely on them for cash withdrawal and vital face-to-face banking services concerned about how they’ll continue to access cash as well as the future of their high streets.
“While many consumers now choose to bank digitally, some aren’t yet ready or able to make the leap.”