High street bank branches set to disappear, retail expert says

RabobankThe retail banking sector is changing so much that traditional high street branches will soon be a thing of the past, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Friday.

Instead, banks will have 20 to 30 offices with a completely different function, says retail sector expert Gerard Zandbergen of research group Locatus.

These new banks will be ‘flagship stores’ focusing on ‘brand experience’ like those operated by computer group Apple and major fashion brands, Zandbergen says.

The paper points out that high street banks are already disappearing. Locatus research shows the big four banks have closed 1,500 branches over the past 10 years – a drop of 52%. There are now just 1,371 high street bank branches in the Netherlands.

Branches are being closed to cut costs and to adjust to changes in banking practices. Some 80% of people now do much of their banking online, research by the national statistics office CBS shows.

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