A banking hub is a ‘one stop shop’ where different banks all operate under one roof to serve their local communities that have limited access to banking facilities and cash given the move to a cashless society and hundreds of bank closures across smaller towns, villages and rural or coastal areas. Counter services are and will be operated by post office staff.
It is estimated that around 430 bank and building society branch offices have closed in the last year alone, taking the numbers into thousands of closures over the last few years.
It had already been announced that 12 banking hubs would be opened and today it was confirmed a further 13 hubs will be opened, taking the number up to 25. This is nowhere near enough to cover the whole country but will act as a ‘testing’ ground and model for future access to cash and banking services.
That said, so far only two banking hubs are in operation. The low number has been put down to difficulty in finding suitable premises and infrastructure.
The Cash Action Group includes all the major banks including Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Natwest but do not hold your breath. This will take time to be up and running but will become ever more important as more people move back to cash due to the cost-of-living crisis.
It is much easier for many to budget using cash withdrawals rather than simply ‘tapping’ your contactless payment card or smartphone wallet to pay for goods and services. Contactless can cause people to get into difficulty as they lose track on what they have spent whereas withdrawing cash from an ATM means you can only withdraw what you have and perhaps spend your money a little more wisely as you can visibly see what is in your wallet or purse.