NEWPORT has seen the biggest drop in bank branches in Wales since 2010 - down from approximately 90 to just 11 in 2021.

And the number of bank branches across Wales is falling rapidly too, down by nine per cent in the year to March 2020, from around 405 to around 370.

This continues a trend that has seen the number of bank branches in Wales almost halve, from around 715 in 2010.

Currently in Newport East there are only two bank branchesm while in Newport West there are nine.

Figures from consumer champion Which? indicate that since January 2015 67 per cent of the bank network in Newport East, and 18 per cent in Newport West, has been lost.

And Blaenau Gwent currently has just four branches, the smallest number in Wales, having lost 64 per cent of its network since January 2015.

“We have been vocal in our calls for commercial banks to maintain a strong presence in local communities, although banking regulation ultimately rests with the UK Government," said a Welsh Government spokesperson.

"It has the power to regulate the industry and ensure these vital services are available to all local residents and businesses.

“We are working hard to ensure people have access to banking services, including supporting the credit union movement and we are committed to creating a community bank with branches across Wales.”

Bank branches have been disappearing from high streets in Wales - and many other parts of the UK - at a frightening pace.


Banks say that this has been driven by a rapid increase in online and mobile banking, and a rapid decline in the use of physical branches.

According to a report published by UK Finance, the trade body that represents banks, 71 per cent of adults used online banking in 2017, representing 38 million people.

Close to 22 million people used mobile banking apps, and there were around 5.5 billion logins to apps last year.

Meanwhile, the average branch received 104 visits a day in 2017, compared to 140 per day in 2012, resulting in a 26 per cent fall in bank branch visits.

Banks and building societies say that this has been the main driver of closures. Customers' banking habits are changing, and branches are needed by fewer and fewer customers.

“Growing numbers of customers are opting to use new technologies to manage their money at a time and place that’s convenient to them, particularly during the pandemic," said a UK Finance spokesperson.

"But technology is not for everyone and bank branches continue to play an important role in the life of local communities, meaning decisions to close them are never taken lightly.

"The industry has been particularly careful to support more vulnerable customers with a series of initiatives including specialist telephone support lines, cash delivery and third-party access cards for carers.

“We are working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority on the implementation of its branch and ATM closure or conversion guidance, building on the recent collaborative work that has seen nine in 10 branches remaining open during lockdown.”

However, there are still plenty of people and small businesses that rely on local banks, who either do not want to or cannot engage with the digital revolution.

This is particularly challenging in rural areas, where people suffer with poor broadband and mobile coverage, and higher populations of elderly customers.

There are other reasons for branch closures. NatWest Group took the decision to close hundreds of Royal Bank of Scotland branches in England and Wales because it now allows customers of that brand to bank in a local NatWest branch. This meant it was running two branches in a high street when there was only a need for one.

The future of the banks in Wales and the UK statistically, appears to be that there will be a continued drop in figures.