Co-operative Bank to close quarter of branches, with tech picking up slack

The Co-operative Bank is closing about a quarter of its remaining branches and digital technology will replace them

The Co-operative Bank is closing about a quarter of its remaining branches and digital technology will replace them.

This is the latest round of branch closures by UK retail banks.

The bank will close 57 branches as part of its cost-cutting plans, leaving it with 165, but aims to retain service levels through IT.

The Co-operative Bank retail and commercial bank director Liam Coleman said the bank is focused on responding to the changes in the way customers are choosing to bank.

“While our branch network remains an integral part of our overall customer service offer, we are investing in our digital offering to provide customers with new, innovative ways to service their accounts as the trend for consumers to move their day-to-day transactions online accelerates,” he said.

The branches will close between May and the end of July 2015.

“Alongside online and mobile banking facilities, all closing branches are within 10 miles of an alternative branch and within three miles of a Post Office branch where customers can undertake most day-to-day transactions, and in many cases much closer,” said Coleman.

In January 2015, the bank signed an IT services contract with IBM. This included migrating its IT infrastructure into IBM-managed datacentres for a full suite of managed services.

“This is another step in the right direction for the bank as we look to strengthen our technology platform and build a stronger bank for customers and all our stakeholders,” said Co-operative CEO Niall Booker at the time.

The Co-operative Bank is not alone making branch closures. The Royal Bank of Scotland recently announced it will close another 99 branches after being “taken aback” by the pace at which customers are moving to digital services.

A senior executive told a House of Commons committee that hundreds of millions of transactions previously completed in branches have now moved online. “We are seeing a revolution in the way our customers want to bank,” Moray McDonald, a managing director at RBS, told the committee.


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