The rate of bank branch closures in Taiwan has increased as banks around the world continue to move their financial services online, Financial Supervisory Commission data released yesterday showed.
Bank branch closures last year reached 23, up from 11 in 2014, setting a new record for bank closures in the past five years, commission data showed.
Last year, state-run Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合作金庫銀行) closed 11 branches, HSBC Bank (Taiwan) Ltd (匯豐台灣商銀) cut four branches, Standard Chartered Bank (Taiwan) Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) slashed six branches, while ANZ Bank (Taiwan) Ltd (澳盛台灣商業銀行) shuttered two branches, the commission said.
At the same time, applications to open new branches are expected to continue declining, with the commission saying it is only expecting to review five applications this year when an annual registration begins next month.
Between 2007 and 2011, applications for new bank branches averaged at about 10 each year. However, the figure fell to one in 2013, five in 2014 and four last year, commission data showed.
The commission’s Banking Bureau said that many banks are no longer able to justify the cost of branches as more and more consumers adopt Web-based services.
While interest in opening new branches is waning among major domestic banks, the exceptions are industrial banks and credit unions in the midst of transitioning into commercial banks, smaller-scaled banks, and banks looking to aggressively step up their presence in consumer and retail financing operations, the bureau said.
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