Lloyd Banking Group is joining in line with the current trend of bank branches being shuttered in UK. It has announced that it is closing 28 bank branches as customers are increasingly turning to digital banking. This comes two months after the bank had already announced that it was closing 48 branches. As a consequence of Covid, the migration of users towards online banking has been increasing leading to less traffic in physical bank branches. While the bank feels that it is responding to adaptation of user behavior, some believe that banks are choosing to walk away from the communities who need access to banking leaving the most vulnerable, elderly and socially excluded with no option.
There are many banks such as Sweden’s Handelsbanken which cut its branches nearly by half. HSBC closed about 82 branches. Close home, in India, Central Bank is talking about closing 600 branches by the year 2023.
Fintech, online banking, neo-banks are making the traditional banks take a very hard look at how they did banking all along. Customers are increasing their use and getting more comfortable with digital technologies. As rightly pointed out in the article, the elderly and vulnerable population seem to be excluded.
While digitalization continues to be a growing force, it is more susceptible to fraud and phishing. There has to be very high focused education to consumers on cyber security. It is necessary that every aam-aadmi should know about cyber security and how to avoid cyber frauds. It would be helpful to have some kind of mass education, in India. Perhaps TV shows, radio would be helpful. This not only increase awareness but will also pave the way for increase in user base for fintechs.