Will there still be bank branches?  - Finance

Will there still be bank branches? – Finance

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All banks combined, where will the haemorrhage of agencies stop? We can ask ourselves the question after the announcement of new closures at ING.

bad news for ING customers who still go to their branch: the bank will further reduce the number of its physical contact points by attacking, this time, its independent network, which should be halved next year. Currently, 448 freelancers operate approximately 300 agencies across the country. There should be only around 200 franchisees left by 2024. “The objective remains to maintain an adequately represented and customer-oriented branch network, comprising both statutory and independent branches”, merely indicates ING , ensuring that its adaptations will not affect the number of jobs within the bank.

As she leaned on a network of more than 650 branches at the end of 2018, ING Belgium is not the only brand to have seen the number of its branches fall sharply in recent years. All major banking networks are cutting into their physical presence to reduce costs. We went from 12,700 branches in 2000 to 4,000 in 2020… Are we heading towards a banking desert? To cite another example, BNP Paribas Fortis, the country’s leading bank, will soon only operate with 220 own branches. In question, of course, digital, further boosted by the health crisis. “Fewer and fewer people are going to the branches”, further justifies ING.

The two-tier bank

But the movement is accompanied by another trend: a further customer segmentation (young, rich, etc.). A number of services that were previously free are becoming chargeable, including advice for some. Less numerous, most often only accessible by appointment, the agencies are indeed becoming larger, with more staff and reserved for specialized operations such as applying for a mortgage loan. For day-to-day operations, you have to settle for remote contact (telephone, etc.): access to the service becomes complicated. In short, behind the acceleration of branch closures, it is the emergence of a new banking model that is hidden: that of the two-speed bank, with on the one hand less banked customers and on the other , them happy couple can afford a real local service.

Bad news for ING customers who still go to their branch: the bank will further reduce the number of its physical contact points by attacking, this time, its independent network, which should be halved this year. next. Currently, 448 freelancers operate approximately 300 agencies across the country. There should be only around 200 franchisees left by 2024. “The objective remains to maintain an adequately represented and customer-oriented branch network, comprising both statutory and independent branches”, merely indicates ING , ensuring that its adaptations will not affect the number of jobs within the bank. While relying on a network of more than 650 branches at the end of 2018, ING Belgium is not the only brand to see the number of its branches drop sharply in recent years. All major banking networks are cutting into their physical presence to reduce costs. We have gone from 12,700 branches in 2000 to 4,000 in 2020… Are we heading towards a banking desert? To cite another example, BNP Paribas Fortis, the country’s leading bank, will soon only operate with 220 own branches. In question, of course, digital, further boosted by the health crisis. “Fewer and fewer people are going to the branches”, further justifies ING. But the movement is accompanied by another trend: a further segmentation of customers (young, rich, etc.). A number of services that were previously free are becoming chargeable, including advice for some. Less numerous, most often only accessible by appointment, the agencies are indeed becoming larger, with more staff and reserved for specialized operations such as applying for a mortgage loan. For day-to-day operations, you have to make do with remote contact (telephone, etc.): access to the service becomes complicated. In short, behind the acceleration of branch closures, it is the emergence of a new banking model that is hidden: that of the two-speed bank, with on the one hand less banked customers and on the other , the happy few can afford a real local service.

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