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Thursday, March 23, 2023

After massive closures of bank offices, kiosks appear for the less tech-savvy

Two years after the closure of the last bank branch in the town of Denny, in the south of Scotland, its 8,000 inhabitants have welcomed the installation of a kiosk that allows them to carry out their most basic transactions.

A counter, an ATM, two tablets and two advisors: the start-up kiosk OneBanks installed in a supermarket it represents an alternative to traditional agencies at a time when they are closing en masse, victims of the internet and cutbacks.

Donna Corrigan, 40, arrives with a heavy box of coins to deposit into her account. Behind the Plexiglas counter, a clerk feeds handfuls of loose change into a machine as they chat.

Here, customers can withdraw or deposit cash and pay bills independently of their bank, thanks to the application developed by the company. Flesh-and-blood advisors also help the less tech-savvy with their online banking.

When the branches at Denny’s closed, “had to drive 20 minutes” to find a bank, explains Corrigan.

Half of the 10,000 branches in the country will have disappeared between 2015 and the end of 2022and Scotland is the most affected region, according to the consumer association “Which”.


The rise of online banking has prompted banks to slash an increasingly underutilized banking network.

In the neighboring eurozone bloc, the number of branches fell by 20% between 2016 and 2020according to him Banco Central Europea (ECB).

Some countries are more affected than others: in the Netherlands, 44% of branches will have closed in that period, compared to 13% in France.

However, large sectors of the population continue to depend on cash: nearly 20% in the UKaccording to a study by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), which describes a rather aged, rural and suburban population.

In the nearby town of Bridge of Allan, population 5,000, at rush hour around noon the main shopping street is packed with customers in restaurants, cafes, bakeries and shops. Not a bank in sight.

The last “closed about four years ago”laments Jennifer Wilson, who runs a hardware store in which 40% of the business is still done in cash.

Wilson can deposit part of the box and ask for change at the local post office. But she is usually very busy and she has to drive half an hour to Falkirk… where her bank will also be closing its shutters for good soon.

“Cold and sterile”

Before there were “three banks in this town”remembers Richard Kilborn, a 79-year-old resident, who has had to get used to online transactions, but misses the human contact. “Everything has become cold and sterile”the Mint.

UK authorities are now asking banks to assess the impact of branch closures on consumers and the alternatives available.

big banks like Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Y NatWest have recently agreed to jointly finance the alternatives, and the country’s main ATM network, LINKhas been in charge of evaluating the situations on a case-by-case basis.

Several options have been tried, including kiosks like Denny’s, but also the improvement of post offices, cash withdrawal in shops and two “banking centers”, installed in the group’s premises Post Officewhere bankers from the main entities in the country take turns during the week to receive clients.

Following the success of the pilot projects, the creation of five new “banking centers” was announced. And OneBanks, which currently has three kiosks in Scotland, plans to install about 15 more throughout the country.

The startup plans to expand internationally. Cash deserts “are a global problem,” says its founder and director, Duncan Cockburn. The use of “Cash will continue to decline, but it will take a long time to completely disappear”.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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