TSB closes another 70 branches; now 90% digital

Debbie Crosbie

TSB announced it will close another 70 branches in 2022 as it “responds to declining branch use and increasing numbers of customers switching to digital banking services.”

TSB said that in recent years the bank has “seen a significant decrease in branch use, with the average number of transactions per branch falling since January 2019” and no prospect of branch transactions returning to pre-Covid levels.

“Two years ago, TSB set out its intention to reduce its branch network and invest in digital services, as part of its strategy to meet the future needs of customers, but the Covid-19 pandemic has further accelerated the shift away from branch services, with customers shopping and doing more online,” said TSB.

“Over 90% of customer transactions are now carried out digitally and video banking accounts for over 90% of mortgage appointments.

“The branches that will close carry out around a third (32%) fewer transactions than the TSB national average.

“There is also a Post Office or free to use ATM within a mile of each closing branch.”

TSB is currently owned by Spain’s Banco Sabadell.

TSB Chief Customer Officer Robin Bulloch said: “Closing branches is an incredibly difficult decision to take, but we have to respond to the changes in the way people bank and provide the right mix of services for all our customers now and into the future.

“These changes allow us to maintain an extensive branch presence across the country.

“They are accompanied by a significant investment programme to upgrade branches to better suit customer needs.

“And, where it takes longer to get to the nearest branch, we will introduce more ‘pop-up’ services in communities.”

TSB said it remains committed to a UK-wide branch network and following the changes, will have 220 branches, remaining the 7th largest branch network in the UK.

The bank said that more than 90% of TSB customers will still be able to travel to a TSB branch in 20 minutes or less.

TSB said it has already opened pop-up services in 41 communities across the UK where it takes longer to get to the nearest branch.

A further 10 are planned.

TSB said all staff impacted by the changes “will have the opportunity to move to an alternative role in TSB.”

Last month, Banco Sabadell confirmed that its board rejected an audacious offer for TSB from Manchester-based Co-operative Bank.

A merger of TSB and Co-operative Bank would create one of the UK’s largest retail banks.

Media reports claimed Co-operative Bank would be willing to pay more than £1 billion to acquire control of TSB.

On July 29, TSB Bank reported a statutory first-half profit before tax of £42.9 million compared to a pre-tax loss of £65.5 million in H1 of 2020 and a pre-tax profit of £21.1 million in H1 of 2019.

TSB said total customer lending increased by £2.2 billion or 6.6% to £35.5 billion in the first half — up £4.3 billion or 13.7% year-on-year — with growth driven by mortgages.