Investigating the impact of bank branch closures on access to financial services in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic

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There is a longstanding policy interest in understanding the impacts of changes in access to public and private services in rural areas. To date much of the empirical analysis concerning changing patterns of accessibility has been predicated on assumptions regarding the mode of transport used to access such facilities. The availability of new and open sources of data, and the increasing sophistication of spatial analytical tools, has enabled alternative transportation modes to be included when investigating the impact of service changes. In this study a nationwide analysis of changes in public transport provision and bank closures has enabled the identification of those parts of Wales that were disproportionally impacted by the loss of financial services during the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on local scenarios which show the combined impact of such changes, the findings demonstrate how temporal variations in accessibility can be used to examine potential patterns of exclusion that arise from the loss of key services. We conclude by suggesting that any assessment of changes in accessibility needs a holistic approach that considers changes in the transport infrastructure alongside other facets of service provision to understand the full impact of such closures on rural communities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number012
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Early online date5 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


  • Bank closures
  • Public transport
  • Potential accessibility
  • Service reconfiguration
  • GIS
  • Financial exclusion


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