The Treasury has issued a policy statement that banking groups must provide access to cash and make deposits to people living in both urban and rural areas. If they do not they face fines for not providing access to deposits and withdrawals. This used to be a voluntary code but it is now policy and the minimum distances to accessible cash services are as follows:
Banks have railed against this and argue that since the pandemic and lock down, cash use is falling with online and contactless purchases still increasing. Banking groups argue that it is not financially viable to keep sites open and whilst we agree, there are still many (including the writer of this article that still prefer cash). Cash access is good for several reasons:
On average, 50 UK branches have been closing each month since 2015 and we do not see this slowing down. This is a fine balance between banks managing expensive sites but making sure vulnerable people access to cash withdrawals and deposits.
We have already seen banks working with the Post Office to open banking hubs and there have been mobile banking vans visiting small towns and rural villages on certain days for many years. We see this as the only sensible solution to ensuring compliance with the new policy requirements although no doubt new solutions will be found.