Norwich Bishop wants speedy bank hubs expansion.

February 4, 2024
1 min read

Rural communities in the UK are in need of bank hubs to support those who have been affected by the closure of local bank branches, according to the Bishop of Norwich. The Right Reverend Graham Usher spoke out after several bank closures were announced. He highlighted the need for banks particularly for vulnerable people and those who are digitally excluded. Although many people now use online banking, some still prefer to have face-to-face conversations, especially when dealing with sensitive matters. Bishop Usher also stressed that charities and building societies can benefit from having access to physical banking facilities.

A number of banks have started to establish bank hubs that offer full banking and cash deposit facilities, as well as in-person meetings with customers. However, Bishop Usher argues that there are currently only 31 bank hubs in the UK and more need to be rolled out, particularly as the closure of bank branches continues. He believes the government can play a crucial role in making it a requirement for a bank hub to be established before the closure of the last bank branch in a town. Charities and MPs, including the North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker, have echoed this call for greater speed in establishing bank hubs.

Responding to these concerns, the government acknowledged that the rollout of bank hubs is happening too slowly. Treasury Minister Baroness Vere said that the pace of delivery is expected to continue to improve over the coming months. Cash Access UK, which provides the bank hubs, has stated that the number of hubs will rise to 50 by Easter. Additionally, the Post Office has plans to open new hubs in various locations in the east of England. Despite these efforts, there is still a need for a faster rollout of bank hubs to ensure that rural communities have access to convenient banking services.

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