Banks: Closures

Treasury written question – answered at on 22 March 2024.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Labour/Co-operative, York Central

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential impact of bank closures on (a) local communities and (b) elderly people's access to banking services.

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

Whilst decisions to open or close a bank branch are commercial decisions for firms, and the Government does not intervene on individual closures, it is imperative that banks and building societies recognise the needs of all their customers, including those who still need to use in-person services. The impact of branch closures must be mitigated where possible so that all customers, wherever they live, continue to have appropriate access to banking services.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s guidance sets out that firms must carefully consider the impact of planned branch closures on their customers’ everyday banking and cash access needs, and put in place reasonable alternatives. This seeks to ensure the implementation of closure decisions is done in a way that treats customers fairly. Where firms fall short, the FCA may ask for closures to be paused or other options to be put in place.

Alternative options to access everyday banking services can be via telephone banking, through digital means such as mobile or online banking and via the Post Office or Banking Hubs. The Post Office allows personal and business customers to carry out everyday banking services at 11,500 Post Office branches across the UK.

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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