Bank and building society branches in the countries and regions of the UK. Bank branch closures, Post Office statistics and ATM statistics.Jump to full report >>
In 2018 there were 11,065 bank or building society branches in the UK. Of these 9,090 were bank branches and 1,975 were building society branches.
Since the mid-1990s, the number of bank branches in the UK has been falling steadily, whilst the number of building society branches has been broadly steady.
The number of bank and building society branches per head of population is even spread across the UK, with an average of 1.7 branches per 10,000 people in each region and country of the UK.
But there is some variation in the recent change in the number of branches in the regions and countries of the UK. In Northern Ireland there has been an 8% increase in the number of bank and building society branches from 2012 to 2018. There has been a fall in the number of branches in all of the other countries and regions of the UK, mostly of around 17%. In the South West the number of bank and building society branches fell by 21%.
Post Offices provide some consumer financial services. In 2018 there were 11,547 Post Offices in the UK. Post Office numbers are discussed in detail in another Library Briefing Paper: Post Office numbers.
ATMs (or cash machines) provide essential financial services to individuals by giving access to cash, balance and account information and some other limited functions. LINK, who operate the vast majority of cash machines in the UK, state that in 2018 there were 63,100 cash machines in the UK, 82% or 52,000 were free to use.
The number of cash machines per head is broadly similar in the regions and countries of the UK, with between 11 and nine ATMs per 10,000 residents.
Government policy to address the issue of bank branch closures is discussed in detail in the House of Commons Briefing Paper, Bank branch closures.
In brief, banks are bound by the ‘Access to Banking Standard’ which came into effect in May 2017. The Standard’s overarching aim is that:
The Standard was agreed by the banks, interested stakeholders, Trade Associations and the UK Government. The Lending Standards Board monitors compliance with the Standard and publishes a report on this topic once a year. The first annual report was published in September 2018: Access to Banking Standards summary report.
Commons Briefing papers CBP-8570
Author: Chris Rhodes
Topic: Financial institutions