Decisions on the opening and closing of individual bank branches are taken by the management team of each bank on a commercial basis without intervention from Government. While banks and building societies need to balance customer interests, market competition, and other commercial factors when considering their strategy, the Government is pleased to see that the industry is committing to further improvements to protect those affected by branch closures. For this reason, the Government welcomed the industry-wide Access to Banking Protocol and Professor Russel Griggs’ independent ‘one year on’ review, published last November.
Building on Professor Griggs’ review, the new Access to Banking Standard came into effect on 1 May. The Standard commits banks to ensure customers are better informed about branch closures and the reasons for them closing, along with the options they have locally to continue to access banking services, including specialist assistance for customers who need more help.