Scarborough and Whitby's banks closing at an alarming rate with more than a third shut down in last seven years

More than a third of banks in Scarborough and Whitby have closed since 2015, new data has revealed.
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Analysis from consumer champion Which? has shown a sharp decline in the number of bank branches open in areas across much of the UK compared to seven years ago.

According to figures up to the end of April, seven banks have been closed in Scarborough and Whitby since the start of 2015, leaving 11 remaining in the area.

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Separate figures from LINK, a cash machine network, show there has also been a decline in the number of free-to-use ATMs across the UK in recent years.

The Yorkshire coast has seen several bank closures in recent years.The Yorkshire coast has seen several bank closures in recent years.
The Yorkshire coast has seen several bank closures in recent years.

Their data shows that between the start of 2018 and early March this year, the number of ATMs in Scarborough and Whitby dropped from 113 to 99.

The increasing use of online banking and contactless payments has led to concerns some will be left behind, or unable to access key services.

Last year, Scarborough’s Santander branch narrowly avoided shutting down when the bank announced more than 100 closures nationwide. In 2016, the Falsgrave Road branch of Lloyds Bank closed, with Barclays and HSBC leaving the area in previous years.

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In September 2021, Whitby saw Virgin Money close for good and before that NatWest.

Which? chief executive, Anabel Hoult, said: “While the pandemic has accelerated the move to digital payments for many consumers, many are not yet ready to make that switch and require protection from an avalanche of ATM and bank branch closures that have left the UK’s cash system at risk of collapse.”

During the Queen’s Speech in May, a new bill to protect access to cash was announced, which will ensure people can continue to withdraw and deposit cash – and it will be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The FCA will be granted new powers to prevent bank and building societies from closing if there are no suitable alternatives, with further details yet to be announced by the Treasury.

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Economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, said: “We know that access to cash is still vital for many people, especially those in vulnerable groups.

“We promised we would protect it, and through this bill we are delivering on that promise.”

The Treasury said the new legislation will ensure “continued access to withdrawal and deposit facilities across the UK”.

Which? data found that almost half of the UK’s bank branch network has closed since 2015.

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LINK said that more than 13,500 free-to-use ATMs have been cut from the UK’s network – a quarter of the 54,500 in operation at the start of 2018.

Research by the Royal Society of Arts estimates that 10 million people in the UK would struggle in a cashless society, with analysis suggesting the elderly and those in areas with poor mobile or broadband connectivity have suffered most in the move to digital banking.

RSA researcher Mark Hall said: “For millions of people, their relationship with cash is critical to the way they manage their weekly budget.

“It’s vital that the dash to digital doesn’t disenfranchise anyone, especially with the cost-of-living crisis putting such significant strain on family finances right now.”

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