Pedestrians walk past a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland in London on January 30, 2012. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS
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More than half of UK branches closed between 1989 and 2016, said the Federation of Small Businesses.Last week, the Royal Bank of Scotland said it would close 150 branches and cut 750 full-time jobs, citing a "dramatic shift" towards mobile and online banking. This week, the FT revealed that Santander employs hundreds of branch staff on "one-hour contracts" that guarantee them just one hour of work per month.Banks are not just doing away with branches – most have scrapped traditional counters, replacing people with machines. Having waited over an hour to verify my ID, the bank branch closed for the evening.The report shows that older banking customers are the most likely to rely on local branches, and the least likely to bank online.It has 11,600 UK branches (compared with about 1,000 at RBS). In January, an agreement was signed to provide nearly all of the big banks' customers and 75 per cent of their small business clients with face-to-face services, from depositing cash and cheques to reviewing balances.
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