Confidence in banks and bank branches remains high in the UK

A recent bi-annual study by Toluna has found that a majority of UK consumers still have strong confidence in banks and see bank branches as playing an important role.

The Toluna Financial Services Sentiment Indicator (FSSI) is a bi-annual study that explores topical issues linked to the UK population’s personal and household finances, as well as attitudes towards financial institutions in the UK and behaviours in relation to personal finances.

The study found that 55% of those surveyed had confidence in their bank or building society, while 54% of respondents claimed they have high confidence in the Bank of England. Meanwhile, Insurers, IFAs, and investment and pension providers have seen confidence levels climb by 4-6% since May 2020.

While the growing use of digital banking services and the ongoing closures of bank branches continue, the study discovered that the UK public is still interested in using bank branches, especially for those in the 18-34 age bracket.

Up to 66% respondents said they had visited a branch of their main bank within the last year, while amongst 18–34-year-olds, this rose to 78%, but fell to 61% amongst 35–54-year-olds and 60% to 55+.

Meanwhile, of those that said they hadn’t been to their bank branch over the last six months, 40% said they still feel it was important to have bank branch access.

On the topic of why they felt it as important to have bank branch access, almost half – 46% – said they felt it was important for the ability to gather in-person advice in case of any issues. Up to 33% said they enjoy face-to-face interaction with staff, while 29% said it gave them peace of mind and 25% said that banking in person gave them a greater sense of security when completing transactions.

The gap between in-person and online service was also highlighted, with 27% of 18-34’s saying a main bank is important to them as there are ‘services they need that are not available online’, compared to 9% for 35-54’s and 12% for 55+’s.

Up to 27% of 55+ years-olds said that having a local branch of their main bank is important to them because they don’t like using online/mobile banking, compared to 9% of 35-54’s and 3% of 18-34’s

Toluna research manager for financial services Mike Bamford said, “In a time when banking brands are looking to digitalise and streamline their business model, it is both interesting and reassuring to see such a large proportion have visited a branch in the last 12 months.

“In short, our research more than suggests that there is still a place for the bricks and mortar bank branch, as they serve the public on multiple fronts, ranging from social wellbeing offering the public interaction and reassurance, through to ensuring that those unable to service their account online are also not forgotten in the digital revolution.”

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