Fewer than 30 major high street banks remain in towns across East Lancashire as the rate of their closure continues at a rapid rate.

New research by Which? shows banks and building societies have closed 5,835 branches across the country since January 2015, a rate of around 54 per month, representing half the branches that were open at the start of 2015.

Just 29 of the major branches remain open across the six East Lancashire boroughs, though all have lost a minimum of 38 per cent of their branches that were open almost a decade ago.

Pendle has suffered the most, with 86.7 per cent of its branches lost since 2015. According to Which?, only two bank branches remain in the borough.

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Ribble Valley and Rossendale both only have three branches left, with all Ribble Valley banks being in Clitheroe and all Rossendale banks being in Rawtenstall.

Hyndburn, which has lost 66.7 per cent of its bank branches since 2015, has five left, all in Accrington.

Both Blackburn and Burnley have eight left and have managed to keep many of the mainstream high street bank chains in their town centres.

However, some branches run on reduced opening hours, such as shorter days on Wednesdays, the only weekend hours being Saturday mornings, or being closed completely over weekends.

Which? says NatWest Group, which comprises NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Ulster Bank, has closed 1,333 branches in the last decade – the most of any banking group.

Barclays is the individual bank that has reduced its network the most, with 1,140 branches now closed.

Across the country, 249 closures have been scheduled for 2024: 90 from Barclays (six more in 2025), 60 from Lloyds, 47 from Halifax, 21 from NatWest, 16 from Bank of Scotland, 10 from Ulster Bank, four from Danske, and one RBS branch.

Currently, only the closure of the Blackburn branch of Barclays is expected in 2024.

To combat the rise in bank closures, towns that have been left without traditional banks have instead been given ‘banking hubs’.

These have been provided by Link and Cash Access UK in some of the region’s smaller towns to ensure those who need banking services and are unable to travel to larger towns can still access them.

The hubs are shared banking spaces, similar to traditional bank branches but available to everyone, working on a rotational basis so staff from different banks are available on different days.

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Earlier this month, Bacup was announced as the next location to be up for a Link banking hub after they already supplied Darwen, Great Harwood, and Barnoldswick.

At the time, Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen, said: “I’m so pleased that our campaign to bring banking back to Bacup has been successful.

"No more having to trek over to Burnley or Rawtenstall to do your banking, this will be a huge boost for local businesses as well those people who struggle to use online banking.”

The hubs are run by Post Office employees and allow customers to carry out regular transactions and seek all the usual banking advice they would in a traditional branch.