New research from Metro Bank, conducted by YouGov, has revealed the extent to which people are struggling with their banking – as banks have reduced opening hours or shut altogether during the pandemic.
41% of Brits say banks they use have reduced their opening hours, and 12% reported that banks have closed completely. Almost half of people (44%) have been impacted by this, and when asked if they had struggled to do their banking as a result more than a quarter (27%) agreed. And this comes at a time when more than one third of people (38%) are worried about their finances as a result of Covid-19.
Consumers fear banks will abandon the high street and face-to-face service
By opening for fewer hours, banks can collect data that might imply branches are less busy – a narrative that can help bigger banks justify cutting costs by shutting branches.
However, by mid-July footfall across Metro Bank stores and counter transactions had returned to more than 70% of pre-Covid levels and rising. From Monday 7 September, Metro Bank stores2 will further increase opening hours to Monday to Friday 8.30am-6.30pm, Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 11am-5pm.
As part of Metro Bank’s research, when asked about their banking:
- More than half (51%) of people agree they like to speak to someone face-to-face – this increases to nearly two-thirds (62%) of over 55s;
- Almost half (48%) of people agree they’re worried that bank branches will operate on reduced hours or close completely after the pandemic;
- More than four in 10 (43%) of people agree there are certain services only available in branch.
It’s no wonder that almost two-thirds of people (61%) say banks have given up on the high street – rising to almost three-quarters (72%) of over 55s.
Daniel Frumkin, Chief Executive Officer at Metro Bank, says: “It’s in tough times like these that being a community bank really matters. While bigger banks are abandoning the high street, Metro Bank is proud to be bucking the trend as a full-service, challenger bank committed to providing great service for customers – whether they choose to bank with us in store, on the phone, or digitally.”
Becoming the UK’s best community bank
The research also highlighted how six in 10 (58%) of people agree banks set their opening hours based on what suits the bank, rather than what suits their customers. Almost half (48%) of people agree they would like bank branches to open earlier in the morning, later at night or on weekends; this increases to almost six in 10 (56%) amongst 25-34 year olds.
Before the pandemic, Metro Bank stores opened on average 32 hours per week longer than its peers. Unlike bigger banks, Metro Bank has kept every single store open during the crisis, and for longer hours. In June, Metro Bank opened two new stores safely in Sheffield and in Cardiff, where the new store is the bank’s fifth drive-thru which offers contact-free banking.
Metro Bank prides itself on being a different kind of high street bank – open when it suits its customers, seven days a week.