Nine new shared banking hubs are to be opened across the UK as the country's high street lenders push ahead with further branch closure programmes.
Each Hub provides basic banking services including counter services run for the major banks by the Post Office, and dedicated rooms where customers can see community bankers from their own bank. Community bankers at the hubs work on rotation, with a different banking provider available on each day of the week.
The UK's top banks clubbed together in December to incorporate an independent non-profit company, Cash Access UK, to fund the development of the Hubs, against a political outcry over the disappearance of physical sites in rural communities.
There are currently four Hubs up and running in Brixham (Devon), Cambuslang (South Lanarkshire), Cottingham (East Riding of Yorkshire) and Rochford (Essex).
Link, which is overseeing the programme as part of a commitment to protect access to cash, has also recommended six new Deposit Services for communities, providing consumers and businesses with ways to deposit cash without having to visit a bank branch.
The move comes against a backdrop of ongoing branch closures across the UK. NatWest, Lloyds, Barclays and TSB have announced plans to shutter more branches in the past month, with a total of 87 more branches slated to close, on top of previously announced programmes.
John Howells, CEO, Link, comments: “Access to cash and face-to-face banking services continues to be important for millions of people across the UK. Not everyone can or is able to go digital yet, so we’re pleased to announce new cash services to support these communities.”