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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 February 2006, 00:00 GMT
Bank closures 'hit poor hardest'
A cheque being written
Loss of banking services contributes to "abandonment", the report warns
Banks and building societies are closing far more branches in low income areas than in wealthier ones, a Nottingham University study has found.

Between 1995 and 2003 4,041 branches were closed across the UK.

Of the branches closed, 3,000 were located in poorer urban, traditional manufacturing areas and in parts with a higher proportion of students.

The report said people whose branches closed faced higher transport costs and a feeling of "abandonment".

The research identified a "twin-track" approach to branch closures, which threatened to widen the gulf between poorer and more affluent areas.

The loss of counter services and cash transmission created major problems for local businesses, the report added.

"The closure of banks and building society branches can have significant consequences for customers, who may have to incur additional costs to travel to undertake transactions or obtain face-to-face advice," said Professor Andrew Leyshon, of the University of Nottingham's School of Geography.

Professor Leyshon added that he expected the trend of branch closure to continue.

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