By Daniel Hunter

The increased use of online and mobile banking means that half of the UK’s building society and bank branches could close by 2020, a new report predicts.

The Global Retail Banking report from Jones Lang LaSalle adds that the closures will be spurred on by increased use of debit and credit cards.

It’s not just the UK that will be affected — but the whole of Europe, with predictions that branches away from shopping centres may close down.

With around 11,600 bank and building society branches in the UK, the report suggests almost 6,000 could be unviable in seven years’ time. Overall, the EU has just over 218,500 branches, indicating almost 110,000 could go.

However, the decline in Europe will be offset by increased numbers of retail bank branches in developing countries such as Brazil, China and India.

“Some locations will have viable reason to remain, where there is a population with requirement for branch banking or less access to electronic banking. But the acceleration of online banking and e-commerce can only continue,” said researcher James Brown.

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