Press release -
BankHubs launch to provide communities with vital cash and banking services from their local Post Office
- First ‘BankHubs’ launch as part of eight pilot communities involved in the Communities Access to Cash Pilots (CACP) initiative
- In the wake of widespread bank branch closures, BankHubs offer local customers basic banking and cash services via their local Post Office
- With 11,500 branches nationwide, Post Office is the only network in the UK with the scale and security in place to manage this role in the cash market
- The pilot results will inform regulators and industry on safeguarding the future of cash access for UK consumers and small businesses
Two ‘BankHubs’ have opened today as part of the Communities Access to Cash Pilots (CACP) initiative. The new centres in Rochford and Cambuslang will provide local customers with basic banking and cash services, as well as dedicated rooms where they can see community bankers from their own bank.
Other ideas being piloted across the other six communities involved include cashback from local shops, automated deposit taking machines for small business to deposit their takings, digital services to make it easier for people to get cash and manage small change, and new ATMs.
Safeguarding the future of access to cash
Around eight million adults have said they would struggle day to day without cash access, and 1.4 million people do not have a bank account and rely on cash to survive. 55% of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) do not accept cards and rely entirely on cash payments, meaning they need somewhere convenient and secure to deposit their takings.
Yet access to cash is rapidly declining, with widespread bank branches closures across the country. The CACP scheme has been established to trial and test scalable solutions to help keep cash sustainable across the UK, and support those that depend on cash to live.
Post Office’s role in the UK cash system
The CACP launch marks a huge step forward in providing a solution to bank branch closures. Post Office branches already provide critical cash deposit and withdrawal services for millions of personal and business customers every week from 11,500 branches across the UK, with 99% of the population living within three miles of a Post Office.
Post Office is the only existing cash network in the UK with the scale of infrastructure, robust scalability and security in place to manage this role in the cash market. Its services allow customers to withdraw cash to the penny over the counter in branches, which are typically open for longer and in more convenient locations for customers to access.
The Banking Framework: working in partnership with major players to save our cash
The financial services industry, wider market participants and the Government have a joint responsibility to ensure that everyone in the UK can continue to participate fully in the financial system irrespective of their circumstances. The Banking Framework is an agreement between Post Office and 30 UK banks, building societies and credit unions, that ensures millions of customers have national, free access to cash and vital banking services over the counter from their local Post Office.
On average, over £2 billion of cash is withdrawn and deposited per month at Post Office branches. Annual volumes of cash withdrawals via Post Office counters have grown by 46%, to £7.8 billion since the start of the Banking Framework in 2017, and cash deposits have increased by 110% to £22.1 billion in the same period.
While the CACP scheme offers much promise, there must still be a continued obligation on retail banks to provide access to cash withdrawal services free at the point of service for both consumers and businesses across the country.
Nick Read, Chief Executive at Post Office, said:
“We are proud to be at the heart of the CACP programme and see the BankHubs as an exciting expansion of our role in safeguarding a secure and sustainable future for cash, as well as our partnership with the banks. Access to vital banking and cash services are imperative in ensuring financial inclusion, and the positive reaction to the pilots so far is testament to just how pressing it is that we support communities and consumers that would struggle without cash. The Hubs can make a real difference as part of the solution to meeting peoples’ cash needs in future.”
Martin Kearsley, Banking Director at Post Office, said:
“In many communities, Post Office is the last counter in town for cash services, but for many people who still need a place to meet their bank, our new BankHubs are a lifeline. The Post Office network has long formed the bedrock of cash access in the UK and we’re fully committed to continuing and expanding that role. We see it as essential that any community struggling amid bank branch closures, and those whose livelihoods depend on cash, be provided with an appropriate solution, and hope that in partnership with the banks, the Hubs will prove to be a great success.”
The trial stage of the Pilots will run until the end of September 2021, when the results of the pilot will be used to inform regulators and industry alike so that cash can remain a viable mode of payment for consumers across the UK, and so that small businesses are able to continue to accept and bank cash.
About the Post Office
- With over 11,500 branches, Post Office has the biggest retail network in the UK, with more branches than all the banks and building societies combined.
- Post Office is helping anyone who wants cash to get it whichever way is most convenient. Partnership with over 30 banks, building societies and credit unions means that 99% of UK bank customers can access their accounts at their Post Office.
- Cash withdrawals, deposits and balance enquiries can be made securely and conveniently over the counter at any Post Office; and the biggest investment by any organisation or company in the last decade is being made to safeguard 1,400 free-to-use ATMs across the UK.
- Post Office is simplifying its proposition for Postmasters with a focus on itscash and banking; mails and parcels; foreign exchange; andbill paymentsservices.
- Researchhas found that visits to the Post Office help drive another 400 million visitors to other shops, restaurants and local businesses equating to an estimated £1.1 billion in additional revenue for High Street businesses.
- 99.7% of the population live within three miles of a Post Office; and 4,000 branches are open seven days a week.