Bank numbers decline

March 04 2021

THE number of banks in Kingswood has fallen by more than a third since 2015, a council study has found.

A number of high street banks have shut their branches because many customers have switched to online banking.

Now South Gloucestershire Council is looking at whether banking services provided by post offices could be expanded to fill the gap in face-to face provision.

A council taskforce led by Councillor James Griffiths found that the Kingswood constituency area had lost 38 per cent of its banking network, Filton & Bradley Stoke 45 per cent and Thornbury & Yate was 27 per cent.

Councillor Griffiths said: “Post offices provide the greatest coverage of everyday banking services, particularly in rural areas, although this is by no means universal,” Cllr Griffiths told a scrutiny commission meeting.

The taskforce report recommended that South Gloucestershire Council officers should “work with the Post Office to discuss the potential for greater coverage”.

This could be through the extension of mobile routes - vans providing services that visit rural communities at specific times and days – and through the move to transform local high streets.

The report said: “Research undertaken by Citizens Advice confirms that for many people, post office banking is the only option left.

“Over two in three postmasters (67 per cent) who have seen a local bank shut say it led to a significant increase in the use of banking services at their post office.

“Banking customers can carry out basic banking at one of 11,547 post offices across the UK.

“Citizens Advice says that overall service standards are largely good, and the vast majority of banking transactions attempted at post offices are successfully completed.”

But it said less than half of customers knew the full range of banking services provided by post offices.