Commenting on the Which? investigation into bank branch closures, Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said:
“People in later life have been hit hard by the closure of local bank branches throughout the UK in recent years. Older people are far more likely to be reliant on local bank branches, with internet banking simply not being a viable option for many. Close to one third (31%) of people aged 70 or over in England live in a household without internet, and 43% - 3.2 million– have never used the internet at home or anywhere else.
“Which?’s finding that one third of the country’s bank branches have closed in just five years is shocking. It brings into question whether the bank closure process is up to scratch, particularly the way in which it assesses the impact on the people affected. We support Which?’s call for the Financial Conduct Authority to review this weakness in the system.
“Post Offices can provide some much needed financial services, but they are not a like-for-like alternative to banks. They do not offer the same range of services, and may be unable to deal with demand. This is particularly true for recipients of the State Pension who will be unable to access their pension from Post Offices after November 2021 due to changes in policy.”