Access to Cash

Thank you for contacting me about access to banking.

I understand that bank branches are vital for many people, and we must preserve access to banking for local communities across our country. I share your concerns regarding the impact that closures of branches could have, particularly in rural areas such as ours. I have spoken with colleagues about how we can best protect over-the-counter services. It should be highlighted that decisions on the opening or closing of individual bank branches are taken by each bank on a commercial basis, without intervention from the Government.

It is vital that all customers, wherever they live, can still access over-the-counter services. I am glad the Government is supporting the Post Office’s relationship with the banks. An agreement enables 99 per cent of banks’ personal customers, and 95 per cent of banks’ business customers, to withdraw cash, deposit cash and cheques, and make balance enquiries at a Post Office counter across a network of 11,500 branches. I am pleased that Post Office and UK Finance are working together to increase publicity of Post Office banking services and ensure more customers can benefit from them.

I welcome that, in September 2020, the FCA published guidance setting out expectation that firms should consider the impact of branch and ATM closures on their customers’ everyday banking needs and consider the availability and provision of alternatives. 

I will continue to speak to colleagues to win support for the industry’s Access to Banking Standard, which commits banks to ensure personal and business customers are better informed about branch closures and the reasons for closing them. The standard also helps customers to understand the options they have locally to continue to access banking services.