Banking without branches


#1

Bank branches have been closing down for decades, but it’s been happening especially rapidly over the past years.

We are building a digital banking app but we are aware that we may not be able to serve everyone with it yet, in particular people who used to bank in a branch and are now cut off from their banking service.

It is our mission to help people save - and we mean the wider population.

Help us to start this important conversation!

  • Have you been affected by bank branch closures?
  • How often did you visit a branch? When was the last time you walked into a branch, and do you remember what it was for?
  • What do you miss most about bank branches (if anything)?
  • How about your parents or those around you - have they been affected?
  • What places do you know of that are most affected?

#2

Hope this helps a little. R-


#3

Thanks @Rogerb, super helpful! How do people get cash now in your town? Are many shops taking cash only? I went down to Polzeath in Cornwall recently, the cab driver (cash only) said it’s a major pain point for him and his customers.


#4

The town in about 2 miles away and if the Co-Op or the Post Office are open then then either of those, although we are expecting the Co-Op ATM to be be hit shortly. The pharmacy offered cash back via their terminal for a little while when the ATM went US.

Barclays in the next big (sic) town is due to close in March.

There is a village somewhere (might be Cornwall) where it is card only because they cannot pay in cash.

R-


#5

Even in my corner of London we are seeing this. There were two bank branches in our ‘town’ (whatever you want to call a named location in London with its own station and postcode) - Barclays and Santander. The former was a Victorian purpose-built building, the latter a converted high-street presence.

Both closed at the exact same time, and now we only have the Post Office counter (which is sub-contracted space in the local WH Smiths).

To be fair, I never went into either of them (not being a customer of either) and had always had to drive 20 minutes to the closest HSBC branch for necessary business account discussions - but 50% of those were opening and closing the account :wink:


#6

I’ve not been with a bank that has branches for almost a year now. But when I was with HSBC it was extremely rare for me to visit a branch, I think the most recent visit to a branch for me was about 3 years ago to request a change of address and a bank statement at that address (and they just put me on a phone in the branch).

Prior to that was approximately 2 years to pay in some cash I had received for my birthday.

I really haven’t missed branches at all tbh. Aside from paying in cash, but to be honest, that’s not a big deal, I can just use the cash :smiley: having said that, if I was still at university where I would frequently get uncomfortably close to my overdraft limit (I was not good with money back then… still not great, if I’m honest :joy: ), I think I would miss cash deposits a lot more.


#7

I use First Direct and Starling.

The only time I ever go to a branch is for paying in chqs and Post Office (Starling) for depositing cash, so (so far) not felt the effect of branches closing.

All communications are dealt with via phone or chat sessions.

I feel more for my parents and those of that age. I have tried to help my mum with Internet Banking, but she would sooner go to her branch to print off a mini statement rather than logging on in the comfort of her home to view the same information.


#8

I put my responses within the quote.
Also the only thing I need a branch or physical location for currently is to pay in cash.
When Rbs closed where my work is. Lots of people weren’t happy (judging by the conversations I heard in the bank.) although most were older people.
For us it actually improved our service as we now use the NatWest which is nearer to where we park and also faster with quick deposits etc.


#9

Have you been affected by bank branch closures?

Nope - I was previously with First Direct before using the “challengers” more and more over the past year.

How often did you visit a branch? When was the last time you walked into a branch, and do you remember what it was for?

I genuinely can’t remember - It was probably to check with something on the Nationwide mortgage…

What do you miss most about bank branches (if anything)?

Absolutely nothing - If it could all be done through the app/phone, I’d be very happy.

How about your parents or those around you - have they been affected?

Nothing major - One parent moved from HSBC to Nationwide when it shut down in the local town (a few years ago now) - A few other people did the same.

Without specifically talking about mobile banks, I’d guess most people feel they still need to be with a brick and mortar bank for “security” and peace of mind.

What places do you know of that are most affected?

In general, I’d say it’s the older generation in more remote areas that are affected the most. Possibly less inclined to use the mobile/telephone offerings so still rely on being able to catch the bus/car into town and visit the bank.

Seems to be a stigma over “online banking” with some of the older people I know (the types that still insist on sending cheques).

Hope that helps! :smiley:


#10

No. I may be the problem as I’ve been actively searching for a way to bank branchless.

Almost never. The last time I went to a branch was my first year of University ten years ago to open a student account.

Free pens.

Nobody I know is affected in my family.

I’d assume more rural area.


#11

Hey @Ardvarky thanks for your input. It’s the mum-generation that is mostly affected, we are well aware. They are not your usual fintech crowd though :nerd_face:. It is not easy to craft a product or a service which would cater to their:

  • banking needs
  • feeling of trust
  • digital skills

But it’s a challenge we would love to address here at dozens!

We will be talking to folks who are affected. Do you think your mum would be open to chat to us? Thank you! :blush::pray:


#12

I could certainly ask her. Or have you got a set of questions I could pass on and come back to you with?


#13

Great, thank you! Will post a list of question here!


#14

I can also ask my Gran if that would help, she would rather get a bus 4 miles to get a statement than use an app etc.


#15

Hi all! Here my initial list of question, that I would ideally love to ask in person, but also happy to take written response. Thank you so much for asking your mums, dads, relatives, friends and passing the responses to me. It will make it directly into the product vision for dozens! :pray::blush::nerd_face:

  • Have you or someone you know been affected by the closure of local bank branches?
  • How often do you currently visit a bank branch?
  • What services do you go into the bank for?
  • Can you describe your relationship with the bank branch employees? How do you feel about the quality of services available today?
  • How do you feel about bank branches closures locally? What about on a wider scale, across the UK?
  • What other ways can you access banking services other than going into a branch?
  • Do you use a mobile banking app? How about on your computer?
  • Who would you usually talk to and trust when it comes to your banking questions (other than bank employees?)
  • Who would you ask for help with computer or mobile questions?
  • How do you feel about learning new skills/ digital skills? Have you tried before? What experiences did you have?

Please could you tell me approximate age and gender when responding. Thank you!


#16

Hi @katja - Do you have a specific target market for these questions?

Monzo/Starling and many of the other FinTechs have all targeted the younger generation initially (although, as many reports will tell you, these aren’t the customers with buckets of money to make the bank!)

It feels like Dozens are exploring the “slightly” older generation here, but it would be good to get a better understanding.

I can ask a few different generations the questions above :slight_smile:


#17

Hi Nick.
Good question.
We are not going after a specific target audience, but we are trying to resolve real financial problems that people have.

We are tackling issues such as people being stuck in overdrafts and unable to save. We do that by helping them get a grip on their spending habits, by offering them a budgeting tool to help track their spend, by providing financially rewarding and fun ways to save, and by upskilling people about investing. (And by not offering overdrafts :wink:).

There are many more financial problems that we feel we can take on: one of them being the problem people face when their bank branches close.
The fact that this problem is oftentimes faced by older, digitally less savvy people doesn’t make it less pressing for us to solve!

We’re super grateful for early adopters like yourself, and glad that you’ve joined us here! My hope is that together we can do some long overdue problem solving for the world of Fin(Tech).

(End of speech :scroll: :nerd_face:)