International Journal of Geo-Information. Volume 11(6), 350
The UK, as elsewhere, has seen an accelerating trend of bank branch closures and reduced opening hours since the early 2000s. The reasons given by the banks are well rehearsed, but the impact assessments they provide to justify such programs and signpost alternatives have been widely criticized as being inadequate. This is particularly so for vulnerable customers dependent on financial services who may face difficulties in accessing remaining branches. There is a need whilst analyzing spatial patterns of access to also include temporal availability in relation to transport opportunities. Drawing on a case study of potential multi-modal accessibility to banks in Wales, we demonstrate how open-source tools can be used to examine patterns of access whilst considering the business operating hours of branches in relation to public transport schedules. The inclusion of public and private travel modes provides insights into access that are often overlooked by a consideration of service-side measures alone. Furthermore, findings from the types of tools developed in this study are illustrative of the additional information that could be included in holistic impact assessments, allowing the consequences of decisions being taken to close or reduce the operating hours of bank branches to be more clearly communicated to customers.