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Are high street banks morally obliged to assist rural communities?

As more and more of the U.K.'s big banks decide to close branches up and down the country, there is growing concern that many rural areas are being left high and dry with banks ditching their moral obligation to assist local economies. This is not a new phenomenon but the onset of the worldwide recession has focused minds more upon cost-cutting than customer service and we are set to see more and more banks closing branches the length and breadth of the UK.

While many banks will argue that the onset of the Internet, and online banking, not to mention telephone banking, and other services now available, have reduced the need for branches in rural areas, this is a very debatable point. It is well known that rural branches can be costly to keep open when compared to the actual business they bring in. However, in years gone by the UK government had placed a moral obligation on UK banks to maintain rural banking services, an obligation which now appears to be in pieces.

Slowly but surely the number of overall bank branches in the UK is falling year-on-year and while Internet banking has grown significantly over the last few years, there are still concerns about online security with highly confidential data at risk.

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