The Government is committed to creating the right regulatory environment that allows banks to enter and expand within the market, and serve customers and communities effectively. The Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority established the New Bank Start-up Unit to help prospective new banks enter the market and through the early days of authorisation. In addition, the Government created the Payment Systems Regulator to ensure all banks can access payment systems on fair and equal terms.
The Government supports credit unions, which provide vital banking services to financially under-served communities. To help expand credit unions’ reach, at Autumn Budget 2017 the Government announced that where a credit union’s membership conditions are based on a local area, a credit union will be able to increase the number of potential members it can have from 2 to 3 million. The legislation to make this change was laid in November 2017 and comes into force in April 2018.
The Government also supports the provision of over the counter banking services via the Post Office. 99% of banks’ personal and 95% of banks’ business customers are now able to withdraw cash, deposit cash and cheques, and make balance enquiries at a Post Office counter via its network of 11,600 branches. At Autumn Budget 2017, my predecessor wrote to the Post Office and UK Finance to ask them to raise public awareness of the banking services available at the Post Office for individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises. The Government looks forward to seeing both parties implement their plans for doing this over the year to come.