Lack of Banks and Building Society branches in Forest Hill

Does anyone understand why we don’t have a single bank or building society or credit union in Forest Hill. Often High Street financial institutions are found near stations and estate agents. We have a very busy station and nine estate agents.

The Post Office is closing all its current accounts on 11th September, although I have learned today that they have a service called Everyday Banking which does mean you can make a deposit there if your bank is a participant in the scheme. I’m not sure if there are charges.

I understand that there is a move to cashless and online transactions, but why is it that when you find one bank, you find six nearby? For example Beckenham has a branch of all main banks and building societies, whereas we have not a single one.



If you refer to the Barclays branch on the corner of Dartmouth Rd and London Rd, it has closed.

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Blimey, checked on Barclays own website which shows it open. Someone had best let them know :smile:


Santander’s excuse for closing was the lack of footfall especially to use the counters, so I suppose Barclays found the same. The problem is as you say once one bank etc closes they all close! Santander showed me a map siting the nearest branches either in Sydenham or Beckenham!! I would have to get 2 buses to Beckenham! I live between Honor Oak & Crofton Park, so go to Catford (unless shopping in Lewisham or Bromley). It is total madness! The nearest Nationwide FOR ME is Bromley. :blush:

The Sydenham branch of Santander has also closed.

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Out of interest, what services are you after from the banks?

Banks are moving to the automation model - even if you find a bank you’ll be greeted with a row of machines and 1 assistant…the desks are usually reserved for business accounts…it ain’t the future it’s the now Banks dont feel the need to invest in brick & mortar or multiple salaries of 18k+ a year…

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There is a limit to the amount of cash that can be drawn out of ATMs. Amounts of more than around £250 or £300 need to be withdrawn from a branch. That is the situation at Santander,; with other banks such as the Co-operative Bank, the situation is different.

Again with Santanded, it is my understanding that certain international transfers, depending on in which country destination bank is situate, require to be done in branch

For our convenience our local bank shut. Our closest is now 17 miles away. There are no busses. It’s not that bad in FH!


Most services are adequate without a branch, but depositing cash or cheque is the thing that can’t be done.

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I’ve never used it myself, but I believe you can scan cheques in via apps on your phone now with some banks - I know some friends who has a small business do it this way.

Cash is more difficult of course.

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And how often does anyone need to withdraw more than £300 in cash? Once a year perhaps? So a bank is going to pay £000s for your annual visit for a load of cash? Come on… I think a few on here may find a Revolut or Monzo card quite useful. Time to move with the times. Cash will be gone in five years. Good riddance.

I broadly agree with your point, but my Monzo account hasn’t been great for large payments that go beyond the daily/monthly limits. There’s a 1+hr wait for support via the app at the moment, so that’s not helpful if you need to execute an unusual transaction quickly.

Temporary growing pains for the challenger banks, perhaps, but “legacy banks” saved the day for me when I needed to buy my last car.

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Actually, people with businesses who deal (perfectly legitimately) in cash need to withdraw large sums several times a week.


I think I found the answer: Hotelling’s Model of spatial competition:

I think we will see more and more businesses switching to cash-free as time goes on. Cash on premises is becoming an unnecessary risk for many, or at the very least a burden when you have to drive miles to deposit it each day. As you can probably guess, I much prefer cards and have been carrying the same emergency £20 in my wallet for months now. I only feel a need to use cash when outside of London, there is little need for it locally - and I welcome that.

I use Revolut and it has been trouble free so far and saved me a small fortune in charges and exchange rates when travelling. I find a mix of both traditional and fully online services works well for me. I accept that you do occasionally need a branch, but these are now becoming exceptional events such as you describe. It is totally understandable therefore to see banks withdrawing very costly services that are no longer used regularly by the vast majority.

I do accept that this adoption has been relatively easy for me and that this must all be becoming increasingly difficult for people that do not use, do not have access to, or are simply unable to use certain technologies…

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The trend of digital transactions replacing cash and cheques is a different issue to the one I asked about, which was about why the supposedly competing branches of different banks are usually found clustered together.

True. Your rather narrow question has since evolved into a broader discussion - one you may be pleased to hear I am now bowing out of.