Hundreds of High Street banks to close down in towns across Britain as banks abandon their promise to stay open.

More than 500 bank branches are expected to disappear from Britain's High Street's this year forcing residents of many communities to travel miles to their nearest bank.

All the major lenders have ditched a commitment to keep open 'the last bank in town', putting almost 900 branches in smaller towns and villages at risk of closure.

Closures: Barclays has outlined plans to close  90 branches across the UK by the end of the year

Experts have warned the loss of the last bank in town pledge - which was introduced in 2008 – puts 878 branches around the country at risk.

In total more than 500 branches are expected to be shut during the course of the year. This would break the record of 479 set last year, which compared to just 195 in 2013.

Derek French from the Campaign for Community Banking said efforts by the coalition to beef up protection for customers 'have achieved very little'.

He said: 'It looks pretty bleak. The closure of branches across the country creates serious inconvenience for those who can least cope, such as elderly customers and hard pressed small businesses who rely heavily on their local bank'.

He added: 'This will also have a knock-on effect on local businesses on the High Street, who will also have less customers'.

Latest figures show that the 142 branches have either been closed by the major banks or are scheduled to do so by the end of March. Of these 52 are the last branch in town.

NatWest - part of state backed Royal Bank of Scotland - has been the biggest culprit, shutting 33 of these, with Barclays closing 15.

Barclays has also outlined plans to close another 90 branches by the end of the year.

Some 8,000 residents of Keynworth in Nottinghamshire will be left without a bank when NatWest closes its branch next month.

St Agnes in Cornwall will lose its last branch when Barclays pulls down the shutters for the last time on Friday.

Chris Leslie, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury said: 'Many neighbourhoods will have already lost pubs and Post Offices.

Sometimes their bank can be the last remaining lifeline to access savings and pay bills– particularly for those who don't want to do business over the internet.'


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