Eight more communities have been confirmed as locations for banking hubs following branch closures announced by banks today. As a result of this announcement, over 50 new banking hubs have now been announced across the UK. As part of its assessment of those closures, LINK is delighted to confirm the following locations have met the Criteria to benefit from new shared banking hubs:
In addition, businesses in the following two locations will benefit from enhanced cash deposit services:
Finally, three locations will no longer have an ATM when the last bank closes, and LINK will therefore commission new free to use ATMs in the following communities:
As part of a landmark agreement between the banks and building societies, following the closure of any bank branch, LINK, the UK’s Cash Access and ATM network, will identify whether a community requires further cash services. In addition, any community without branches can contact LINK directly and ask to be assessed for support.
To date, there are four banking hubs open in Brixham (Devon), Cambuslang (South Lanarkshire), Cottingham (East Ridings of Yorkshire) and Rochford (Essex). Following today’s announcement, there are a further 47 hubs that are being delivered collectively by Cash Access UK.
Banking hubs provide basic banking services including counter services run by the major banks and the Post Office, and dedicated rooms where customers can see community bankers from their own bank for more complicated matters that require specialist knowledge or privacy.
John Howells, CEO, LINK: “The eight banking hubs we have recommended today will become part of the fabric of the High Street. Those that have opened so far have had a ringing endorsement from local residents and businesses, and LINK is proud to recommend services for these communities.”
NOTES TO EDITORS: Spokespeople available upon request
About the LINK Scheme: The LINK Scheme is the UK’s Cash Access and ATM Network that connects virtually all the UK’s ATMs and provides communities with access to cash through services such as cashback at retailer’s tills and Banking Hubs. LINK’s role is to provide UK consumers with universal access to cash in a safe, convenient and rapid manner. A free LINK Cash Access App showing consumers their nearest free cash access location can be found at www.link.co.uk/consumers/locator/. LINK has 33 Members that issue cards and deploy ATMs in the UK. LINK is a not-for-profit organisation and governed by an independent Board, which has a clearly defined public interest remit. www.link.co.uk
What is a banking hub?
A banking hub is a shared banking space, similar to a traditional bank branch but available to everyone. The hubs currently consist of a counter service that will be operated by Post Office staff, where customers of any bank can withdraw and deposit cash, make bill payments, and carry out regular banking transactions. In addition, there will be private spaces where customers can speak to someone from their own bank about more complex issues. The banks will be working on a rotating basis, so there will be staff from different banks available on different days.
What services will the hubs provide?
Banking hubs will offer basic counter services, allowing people to withdraw cash, collect change, deposit cheques, pay bills and make balance enquiries. Automated services for deposits and withdrawals may also be available.
On alternating days, bank staff from specific banks will be available so people can speak to their own bank about problems or other banking issues they may need help with.
What other services are available to people who need access to cash?
As well as the banking hubs, communities large and small, in every part of the UK need access to cash. There are a range of existing services that are being expanded or others that have been recently launched, including:
Which banks are involved?
All the main high street banks are part of this work – and many bank and building society customers will be able to use the counter service at the hubs and get advice, support and information about banking matters. The banks involved are:
Who will staff the banking hubs and how will they be sourced/trained?
Banks will ensure staff are available to work in the hubs on specific days of the week so people will be able to check when their own bank staff will be in the branch and can go in and speak to them. Anyone will be able to use the Post Office-staffed counter services any day that the Hub is open.
People using the hubs will be able to speak to fully trained and experienced staff from each bank who will be able to provide support and banking advice.
Will the staff be able to help resolve problems and complaints?
Bank staff will be able to offer advice and support in the banking hubs and direct people to the departments that can sort out problems or resolve any complaints.
How do you decide which communities need a banking hub or cash services?
Establishing which communities need access to cash and what services are most suitable is not a just matter of demographics. Nor can need be defined by population numbers, given the diversity and location of rural communities to the country-specific needs of people in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
There are two ways for new hubs to be recommended. Whenever a participating bank or building society makes a change to its network (such as a branch closure or reduced opening hours) it notifies LINK in advance. LINK will then assess the location’s needs, looking at what other services are available locally, the size of the location (people and number of shops) and determine whether the community needs a new hub. The criteria that LINK uses have been developed and agreed after extensive consumer and small business group input, and are operated independently of the banks.
In addition, a community can also request a review itself. LINK will then independently assess the needs of that community using the same criteria. Any community can ask for a review – the form is on LINK’s website: https://www.link.co.uk/consumers/request-access-to-cash/. Barton-upon-Humber in Lincolnshire is the first announced hub that will be created after the community requested the service.
Community Access to Cash pilot schemes
In addition to the banking hubs, LINK has recommended several locations to be considered within the Cash Action Group’s series of pilots to work within communities and assess their needs for cash services. This follows the successful Community Access to Cash Pilots in 2021 which, as well as creating the initial concept of a banking hub, led to the national rollout of ‘cash at the till’ cashback. This was first offered by PayPoint and is now available at over 8,000 convenience stores across the UK. Since its launch in 2021, over £10m has already been withdrawn through PayPoint alone, with use of the service growing every month. As with banking hubs, cashback has proved particularly valuable to those on tight incomes, with the average amount withdrawn around £15 compared with the average ATM withdrawal of £80.