The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has set additional expectations for banks that are considering branch or ATM closures.
The guidance, which already expects banks to carry out thorough checks on the impact permanent closures will have on customers, has now been extended to cover partial closures and demands that banks make alternative provisions for customers.
The FCA's easygoing earlier stance on branch closures has failed to stem the tide of shuttered branches across the UK. So far this year 248 bank branches have closed in the Uk, and a further 288 are scheduled to shut by the end of December.
Sheldon Mills, executive director consumer and competition, says: "The industry must make sure they are supporting people and businesses who rely on cash and banking services. That is why we’ve published updated guidance for banks that are considering branch closures and reminded them that we want alternatives, such as banking hubs, delivered quickly and as a priority."
Where the need for an alternative is identified, firms should now make sure it is in place and accessible before a branch closes or an ATM is converted, he says.