These days there are more and more banks which are struggling to keep their branches open on high streets. There are also banks which no longer have branches or have never had them. This means that you might question whether it is important to have a bank with a branch local to you or not. It is worth thinking about the advantages and disadvantages and this will make it easier for you to be able to make up your mind.
Advantages of a Branch
Having a local branch means that you will be able to pop in a discuss any problems that you have. You will not have to wait on hold for a long time or talk to someone in a call centre. This can be especially useful for those that have trouble with hearing people on the phone or who do not like making telephone calls. There is often the option of online banking but some people do not trust the security of online banking or they are not confident using their computer or they do not have a computer. For these people having a local branch is the only way that they will be able to do their banking.
It might be quicker and less confusing to deal with a bank than online. When you do transactions online, you may wonder whether it has been done properly, but have more trust if someone in a branch has done it as they use the system regularly and know what they are doing. It can be reassuring knowing this and if something does go wrong, it will not be your fault and so it will be fixed by the bank rather than you needing to try to rectify the problem.
Disadvantages of a Branch
If a bank has branches on high streets then they will be paying rent for them in most cases. This means that they will have these extra costs as well as the tax, utilities and other expenses that are associated with running a branch, including paying the staff as well. These expenses have to be covered somewhere and it is likely that they will be passed on to the customers and this could mean that loans are more expensive or that the interest that you get paid on savings is lower or both. So, you will need to watch out for this.
If you only deal with branches then it means that you will only be able to do anything within banking hours. This means that you can be a bit restricted. If you do telephone banking the hours might be longer and if you do online baking then you can bank at any time. This means that you can get a lot more flexibility. Of course, you may do both and have a branch that you deal with and also have online banking.
Some people may prefer having more control and being able to make transfers and check their balance and things like that by themselves. It might feel odd having someone else dealing with all this and they my prefer the independence and control they have.
Whether a branch is important to us a very personal thing. There are pros and cons and whether we want one can be very much influenced by what we are used to as well as what access we have to. It is worth thinking about whether a branch is something that you really need because when you are choosing a new bank, perhaps switching banks or choosing one for your child, you will need to think about whether this is something which is important to you or whether it is not something that matters.