The opinion article muddles a number of different concepts.
Yes, digital services = data, and data = monetisation (physical cash doesn’t offer these opportunities)
However, banks don’t make their money from data. Banks make their money from loaning you money and while digital services allow them to provide these services at convenience to you, many people prefer the face to face interaction especially when it comes to mortgages.
There is significant money to be made by making customers better off by offering them a mortgage review & switch service - and while you can ignore prompts and pop-ups online, if you’re in a physical conversation with a staff member at the counter in branch it’s harder to ignore.
My point is, banks need branches. However, customer behaviours in using online/mobile banking means that they don’t use branches as often as they used to. It’s true in the early days that banks were very much driving this behavioural change, but there is a balance between cost saving and profit generation.
Bank closures are very much driven by customer footfall and yes whether there is any profit to be made there. ATM closures is a whole different argument altogether and nothing to do with digital services.
The true con is the myth of ‘free banking’. It’s not free, and if you’re not paying, then somebody else is - often the most vulnerable who end up paying in overdraft fees.
This is why I’m happy with the refreshing level of transparency at Monzo - they are telling us how much it costs them to run our accounts and talk to us about the true costs of banking (like atm withdrawal fees, oversees withdrawals etc).
Anyhow, that’s my tuppence…