The number of bank branches in South Korea dropped to its lowest level in five years in 2014 in the latest sign that lenders are increasingly focusing on non-contact channels to cut costs, data showed Tuesday.
The number of bank branches in the country totaled 7,433 last year, falling by 268 from the previous year, according to the data by the Bank of Korea. It marks the second consecutive year of decline.
The on-year fall is mostly attributed to weakening demand for face-to-face service at lenders. Face-to-face transactions accounted for only 11.6 percent of the total last year, according to South Korea's News Agency (Yonhap).
The data, meanwhile, showed that the number of other financial institutions also trended lower. The number of life insurers slumped to 3,683 branches from 3,951 branches a year earlier, while that of savings banks dipped to 327 from 339 branches, according to the data.