Eight new banking hub locations unveiled

Eight new banking hub locations unveiled… but they’ll probably only open NEXT YEAR while banks continue to close branches at an alarming rate

  • ATM network operator Link said Porthcawl will get one new banking hub
  • Last summer the FCA slammed the slow pace of banking hub openings 
  • There are currently only four banking hubs up and running across the UK 

Eight new locations have been confirmed as sites for banking hubs following swathes of branch closures, ATM network operator Link said today.

The newly announced locations include Newton Aycliffe in County Durham,  Porthcawl in Bridgend and Withernsea in East Yorkshire.

Speaking to This is Money, a spokesman for Link said the banking hubs are expected to open next year, though ideally sooner.

Hubs: Eight new locations have been confirmed as sites for banking hubs today

The pace at which the hubs, which are installed by Cash Access UK, can open will depend on issues like finding premises and getting planning permission granted, the spokesperson added.    

Earlier this month, HSBC became the first bank to agree to delay the closure of a last branch in town until alternative banking arrangements are in place.

Taking today’s eight new locations into account, over 50 new banking hubs have been announced across the UK to date.

Link also said Knutsford in Cheshire and Stony Stratford in Buckinghamshire will benefit from ‘enhanced cash deposit services.’

On top of that, the group said it planned to commission new free to use ATMs in Newburn, East Horsley and Ystradgynlais, which are due to be left with no ATM’s at all once the last bank branch branch in the area closes for good. 

Link said it would continue to identify locations requiring further cash services, adding that communities without branches can request the group directly and ask for support.

Eight new locations for banking hubs

Downham Market (Norfolk)

Shirebrook (Derbyshire)

Otley (West Yorkshire)

Sidmouth (Devon)

Newton Aycliffe (County Durham)

Porthcawl (Bridgend)

Withernsea (East Yorkshire)

Wellington (Somerset)

John Howells, chief executive of Link, said: ‘The eight banking hubs we have recommended today will become part of the fabric of the High Street. 

‘Those that have opened so far have had a ringing endorsement from local residents and businesses, and LINK is proud to recommend services for these communities.’

Link said there are four banking hubs open across the UK, located in Brixham, Cambuslang, Cottingham and Rochford.

Banking hubs, according to Link, provide basic banking services including counter services run by the major banks and the Post Office, and ‘dedicated rooms’ where customers can see community bankers from their own bank for more complicated matters that require specialist knowledge or privacy. Automated services for deposits and withdrawals may also be available.

The likes of Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Nationwide Building Society, NatWest, Santander and TSB are all involved in the banking hub scheme, having collectively shut scores of bank branches in the last few years. When a bank closes a branch, it must inform Link, which then assesses the impact on the local community’s access to cash.

Last summer, the country’s major high street banks were warned by the financial regulator that they must make new-style banking hubs a ‘priority’ amid their painfully slow rollout. 

In August 2022, the Financial Conduct Authority, said: ‘Firms need to pick up the pace and deliver more banking hubs. We expect this to be done as a priority.’

It added: ‘Banks and building societies must treat their customers fairly and provide alternatives to branches where needed. 

‘Banking hubs are one of a range of tools they can use to ensure communities have easy access to banking services and cash.’

At the time, banking expert Derek French, a longstanding champion of banking hubs, welcomed the regulator’s intervention, accusing lenders of slowing down the opening of hubs to the ‘pace of a snail.’ 

High street banks have shut around 5,355 branches since January 2015, according to consumer group Which?. That will rise to 5,549 by the end of this year. 

Banks and building societies argue the closures are necessary as more people look after their money online, not by using physical branches. 

However, critics say the rapidly dwindling number of bank branches hammers groups such as the disabled, elderly and carers. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk