Before I get onto the topic of how banks are disappearing, this week marks Rose Capital’s 7th Birthday. Like all celebrations at present that will be a more muted affair than would normally be the case (such as my 40th that came and went in November), but hopefully we can make up for that in the very near future.
It does make you reflect, and the last 7 years have been pretty bonkers… Brexit, Covid, Stamp Duty Reform, De-Enveloping, Major regulatory changes are just a few of the things that I have had to contend with… That is before you even get to the rather challenging work that is running a company. But as they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I really feel we are coming out of the pandemic well. We have an excellent, stable team, great improvements on where we were even 12 months ago (let alone 7 years ago), and I still have my (relative) sanity. I am taking a lot of encouragement from that, and excited about what the next 7 years will bring! Although I really could do with it being a little less bumpy…
How Banks are disappearing off the High Street
Last week Santander announced that they were shutting 100 branches across the UK. That really shouldn’t come as a surprise as since 2004, 3,033 High Street Bank branches have closed, from every major bank. This is just part of a much longer trend of the death of the High Street as the switch to more digital choices steadily increases. What was interesting though was how open Santander have been about the role of the Branch changing, and staff will be retrained to do other functions.
On the one hand, this is quite sad that banks are disappearing, as my first real job was in a Branch of Cheltenham & Gloucester (on the corner of High Holborn if anyone is interested, now a TSB since Lloyds split out various sub-brands it was running a while back) and going to your local branch to pay in a cheque will be a very clear for anyone born pre-1990ish. They have been a cornerstone of our High Streets forever so to see these slip away with other typically High Street names does make me feel a tad melancholic.
The Only Constant in Life is change
On the other hand, the only constant in life is change. These days I bank with Starling (who are exceptional) and when I did actually have to deal with a cheque I was sent recently (yes, that does still happen when you deal with solicitors) I was very relieved to find out I can just take a picture of it and it gets credited to my account. Also in an age of video/telephone meetings, why do you need to physically move your backside to a bank branch, just to overhear the really quite tedious conversations that happen there, while you are trying to do whatever menial task drove you there.
So banks disappearing and the decline of branches is really quite inevitable. People don’t just blindly use their banks services these days like they used to, (which is a good thing as I have made a career of comparing mortgages for my clients!), trust in banks is still very low post Credit Crunch and ultimately any job you do now, which can be automated that easily, will cease to exist at some point in the future
I do however see this as a positive thing, as people shop around more now for various financial products, and as those products become more complex, it increases the role of experts to do the more creative, interesting advice/research work, while automation can free you of the drudgery of the non-essential work needed to help you achieve those goals (Naval talks about this and much more in a recent podcast with Joe Rogan which is really interesting, a small clip of which you can watch here). This is true in most walks of life now, however, we are quite a way off being there fully yet in our industry, but the future does look very bright when you look at it from that perspective.
So when you look at the role of banking as we used to know it, change is simply inevitable. People no longer want to go to a very dull high street branch, at an inconvenient time, to do an inconvenient task. Certainly our clients prefer to arrange a meeting with us, at a time and via a method that suits them, which ensures they get the most suitable product. Therefore, we get to do more specialised work which we are experts in, and clients get the best outcome, a real win/win for the most important people in the process – you!
Market Rates pegged back a bit last week after many weeks of rises.
However, this doesn’t change our stance that all things being equal – if you have a larger deposit (25% +) it’s probably a good time to fix for the longer term, and if you have less than that, probably best to keep things short term. However, your personal situation will determine what is most suitable.
In the last week:
3 Month Sterling Libor = up by 0.010% at 0.090%
2 Year SWAP = down by 0.011% at 0.273%
5 Year SWAP = down by 0.068% to 0.631%
Bank of England Base Rate = Held at 0.10%
2 Year Variable from 1.19%
2 Year Fixed Rates from 1.05%
5 Year Fixed Rates from 1.19%
BTL Rates from 1.19%
The actual rate you will be offered will be dependent on your personal circumstance and deposit level. Please speak to one of our advisers so that they can guide you through this process
Source: Twenty7Tec March 2021
If you would like to speak to one of the team about your mortgage please call us or book a consultation with one of our mortgage advisers.