Four further banking hubs added to waiting list
Bury Park in Bedfordshire, Haslemere in Surrey, Prestatyn in Denbighshire and Welling in South East London have been confirmed as future locations for banking hubs.
Banking hubs allow customers of any bank to access their accounts, deposit cash and cheques, and withdraw money at any time. They also have dedicated rooms where customers can speak to community bankers from their own bank for more complicated matters.
However, only two hubs have opened so far (Cambuslang in South Lanarkshire and Rochford in Essex) and the four new locations take the hub waiting list to 27 due to be opened in the coming months.
Campaigners said the rollout of hubs is taking too long, particularly as hundreds of bank branches have closed in the past few years. Just last month, NatWest announced plans to close 40 branches.
As part of a landmark agreement between the banks and building societies, when a bank closes a branch, LINK, the UK’s Cash Access and ATM network, will identify whether a community requires further cash services. See YourMoney.com’s What are the rules if your bank branch closes and what are the alternatives? for more information.
In addition, any community without branches can contact LINK directly and ask to be assessed for support. The hubs added to the waiting list today are the first to come directly from community requests.
LINK has also confirmed that six additional towns will receive increased support for depositing cash. These areas are:
- Bingley in West Yorkshire
- Finchley in North London
- Leigh-on-Sea in Essex
- Melksham in Wiltshire
- Plympton in Devon
- Sandbach in Cheshire
‘Keeping cash viable in local communities’
LINK said being able to deposit cash locally is important for local businesses and customers. To date, LINK has recommended 18 new locations for deposit facilities.
Natalie Ceeney, chair of the Cash Action Group, said: “The community request scheme is a vital part of the process assessing the needs of communities, and I am delighted to see that it’s leading to new services being set up.
“The creation of new deposit services will also be very welcome. Time and time again, businesses have told me that the inability to run out to the bank at lunchtime to refill their tills or at the end of the day to bank takings is one of the reasons why it’s easier to stop accepting cash. Local deposit solutions are vital to keeping cash viable in local communities.”
Jenny Ross, Which? Money editor, said: “Banking hubs could play an important role in ensuring the cash needs of local communities are met. However, the rollout is taking far too long and the hubs must open as soon as possible so consumers can benefit.
“Our figures show how the number of bank branches and free-to-use ATMs has been slashed in recent years, so it’s vital that new legislation protects free access to cash for the millions of people who rely on it.
“The government must guarantee minimum levels of access without fees being charged and give the Financial Conduct Authority powers to oversee the cash system to ensure it meets community needs.”