The Treasury does not make assessments of branch closures, or alternative methods of banking, as these are commercial matters for banks. However, Government believes it is important the impact of branch closures on communities must be understood, considered and mitigated where possible.
The Government supports the industry’s Access to Banking Standard which commits banks to ensure personal and business customers are better informed about branch closures and the reasons for them closing. It also helps customers to understand the options they have locally to continue to access banking services, including specialist assistance for customers who need more help. The Access to Banking Standard is monitored and enforced by the independent Lending Standards Board.
Government also considers it important that all customers, wherever they live and especially those who are vulnerable, can still access over the counter services. That is why the Government supports the Post Office’s Banking Framework Agreement, which enables 99% of banks’ personal and 95% of banks’ business customers to withdraw cash, deposit cash and cheques, and make balance enquiries at a Post Office counter via its network of 11,600 branches.
The Government is committed to ensuring that communities across the UK are fully aware of the important services that remain available to them at their local Post Office, even if their bank branch is closed. The Post Office and UK Finance have committed to work together to raise public awareness of the banking services available at the Post Office for individuals and SMEs, which the Government welcomes.