Treasury ministers and officials regularly engage with Barclays UK on a variety of key policy issues.
Decisions on opening and closing branches are a commercial decision for banks and building societies. However, the Government firmly believes that the impact of branch closures should be understood, considered, and mitigated where possible so that all customers, wherever they live, continue to have appropriate access to banking services.
The largest banks and building societies have been signed up to the Access to Banking Standard since 2017, which commits them to ensure that customers are well informed about branch closures, the bank’s reasons for closure and options for continued access to banking services.
Guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority also sets out its expectation of firms when they are deciding to close branches or the number of free-to-use ATMs. Firms are expected to carefully consider the impact of planned branch closures on their customers’ everyday banking and cash access needs and consider possible alternative access arrangements. This ensures that the implementation of closure decisions is undertaken in a way that treats customers fairly.
Alternative options for access can be via telephone banking, through digital means such as mobile or online banking, and the Post Office. The Post Office Banking Framework allows 99% of personal banking and 95% of business banking customers to deposit cheques, check their balance and withdraw and deposit cash at 11,500 Post Office branches in the UK.