Taiwanese bank branches drop to eight-year low in May

Banks have yet to apply for an application to open a new branch since the start of the year.

Taiwanese bank branches have succumbed to an eight-year low of 3,398 as of end-May as more consumers opt for digital banking in the country, according to the Financial Supervisory Commission as reported by Taipei Times.

Since the start of the year, no bank has filed for an application to put up new branches, compared to the 32 and 17 applications in 2017 and 2016, respectively.
Data from the commission revealed that the number of bank branches steadily rose after reaching a low of 3,359 in 2011 until it hit 3,460 in 2014. However, ithas continued to decrease since then.

“Banks are closing their branches as younger people are more keen to use online banking, including digital bank accounts or mobile payments, rather than go to conventional branches,” banking bureau chief secretary Phil Tong told a news conference.

Despite fewer bank branches, the number of bank employees increased to 151,000 in 2017 from 140,000 in 2014, fueled by the hiring spree for more legal compliance or financial technology talent, Tong added.

Meanwhile, automatic teller machines (ATMs) grew to 29,701 as of end-May from 28,298 in 2017, the agency noted.

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