If you want to settle banking business, you can do it less and less the old-fashioned way in a bank branch. The three largest Dutch banks have drastically reduced the number of physical branches in recent years, according to a visit by NU.nl. These branches are replaced by smaller points of service, video calls or visits.
Due to the rise of online banking, there are fewer and fewer things you need to go to a brick bank branch for. Rabobank, ABN AMRO and ING have therefore closed quite a few branches recently.
Where Rabobank had 335 local branches before the corona pandemic, there are now 146. ABN AMRO has closed a third of branches this year alone, leaving 53 branches.
ING, the largest bank in the Netherlands, still had 59 branches in July, down from 128 in March last year. In short: those who walk down the street are less likely to fall on the facade of a bank.
Fewer agencies, no less accessible
According to the banks, this does not mean that they are less accessible. Where bank branches are disappearing, the number of smaller so-called ING and Rabobank service points is increasing. Think of an office in the local Bruna or in a library. ING expects to have 321 in July.
In addition, things that previously had to be done exclusively in a bank are now often done online. “For example, 90% of conversations about mortgages go through the image bank (video calls, editor’s note),” an ABN spokesperson recently explained to NU.nl.
For those who find video calling too difficult and going to a branch not an option, ABN and Rabobank offer the option of switching from home. Then a counselor comes by to help with banking matters.