Banks: Closures

Treasury written question – answered at on 27 February 2024.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has had recent discussions with banks on the closure of bank branches in rural areas.

Photo of Bim Afolami Bim Afolami The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

The Treasury regularly engages with the banking sector to discuss a range of policy matters. The Government believes that all customers, wherever they live, should have appropriate access to banking and cash services, and I would like to assure you that I am monitoring this issue closely.

Though the closure of bank or building society branches are commercial decisions, it is imperative that firms recognise the needs of all their customers, including those who need to use in-person services.

Guidance from the FCA sets out its expectation of firms when they are deciding to reduce their physical branches or the number of free-to-use ATMs. The FCA’s guidance is clear that firms are expected to carefully consider the impact of planned branch closures on their customers’ everyday banking and cash access needs, and put in place alternatives, where this is reasonable.

UK customers can access banking services through a number of different channels. This includes in branches, Post Offices or Banking Hubs, as well as via telephone banking and through digital means such as mobile or online banking.

The Post Office allows personal and business customers to carry out everyday banking services at 11,500 Post Office branches across the UK. The Post Office is required by the Department for Business & Trade to ensure that 95% of the total rural population across the UK is within 3 miles of their nearest Post Office.

Banking Hubs are an initiative which enable customers of participating banks to access cash and banking services in shared facilities. Over 100 Banking Hubs have been announced so far, and the Government hopes to see these Hubs open as soon as possible.

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