More than 700 UK building society branches have closed since 2008.
In 2008, 60 UK building societies operated a combined branch network of 2,083 outlets.
Today there are 1,380 building society branches for the remaining 44 societies.
Nationwide’s branch network of 620 outlets dominates the sector, down from 680 a decade ago.
The majority of Nationwide closures arise from branch overlap following its various acquisitions. Since the crisis, Nationwide has acquired the branch networks of former rivals Portman, Dunfermline, Cheshire and the Derbyshire.
Nationwide’s commitment to the branch channel is evidenced by its £73m branch investment programme. Last year it invested £73m in its branches, rolled out 36 new style branches with plans to update its entire branch network by 2022.
Yorkshire remains the second largest society by branches with 148 outlets, up from 134 a decade ago. Since the crisis, Yorkshire has acquired three societies: Chelsea, Norwich & Peterborough and Barnsley.
Skipton’s branch network of 87 is up from 79 in 2008. In that period Skipton acquired 12 branches from its two acquisitions: Chesham and Scarborough building societies.
In Q4 the number of societies will reduce to 43 when Skipton snaps up the single branch Holmesdale Building Society.
Coventry Building Society is the fourth largest society by branches with 70 outlets, up from 48 in 2008. In the interim, Coventry acquired the 20+ branch network of the former Stroud & Swindon.
Coventry has kicked off an ambitious branch transformation programme, re-affirming its commitment to the branch channel.
Building society branches: Nottingham bucks trend
A decade ago the Nottingham was outside the top 10 societies ranking by most metrics, including assets and branches.
Today, the Nottingham is the fifth-largest society by branches. At the end of 2017 Nottingham increased its network from 60 to 67 outlets. In 2008 it operated a mere 32 units.
Research from The Nottingham shows the impact of branch closures on people visiting towns affected. It reports that 36% of people say they would visit their town or village less if their local branch closed with two out of five saying they would make three or more fewer visits a month.
The Nottingham’s research finds that one in four (24%) shop owners who have closed their businesses in the past five years say losing a local bank branch contributed to them going out of business.
The Nottingham is campaigning to highlight the value of the bank branch to local towns and businesses.
It says that its branch footfall has increased by around 10% potentially increasing visits to local shops.
Gary Womersley, Head of Branch Network for The Nottingham Building Society said: “Financial institutions play a major role in local high streets drawing customers to shops and boosting sales and business.
“This is particularly true in market towns, where much of our focus is placed. Sadly, there are now as many as 1,500 towns in the UK that used to have branches but no longer do
“In as many as eight towns, The Nottingham has a branch where there is no presence of the big four banks.”
The top 10 building societies branch networks are rounded off by Leeds (55), Principality (53), West Bromwich (37), Cumberland (34) and Newcastle (27).
Building Societies Q2: 23% market share of mortgage lending
Building societies approved 120,681 mortgage loans, a 30% share of the 406,677 mortgage loans approved across the sector in Q2.
Gross mortgage lending by building societies was £16.8bn, accounting for 26% of the £65.5bn total mortgage lending in the UK during the period.
Net mortgage lending by building societies (gross lending minus repayments) was £4.3bn, a 37% share of total net lending across the market of £11.6 billion.
This leaves building societies with outstanding mortgage balances of £312.6bn at the end of March 2018, a 23% market share.
At the end of June, building societies held savings balances of £276.0bn up by £7.4bn since the end of 2017.
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