More banking hubs to open by the end of the year – but Britain will still be falling short
At least 17 more banking hubs are set to open by the end of the year.
Gareth Oakley, chief executive of non-profit company Cash Access UK, promised more sites are on the way after campaigners criticised the ‘snail’s pace’ of the project, which is designed to replace thousands of branches that have closed.
Shared banking hubs have been hailed as a solution to the mass closure of branches, which risk cutting elderly and vulnerable customers off from accessing their money.
So far only seven of the 80 hubs that have been pledged are up and running.
Britain’s high street banks have been closing their doors en masse but building society Nationwide has vowed to keep branches open
Cash Access UK – which was set up to establish hubs on behalf of the banks – said it should take a year to launch a site.
But Mail on Sunday analysis found that 18 hubs announced at least 12 months ago still haven’t opened their doors.
The roll-out has been hit by delays as hubs struggle to find suitable sites and talks with landlords drag on. And banks, meanwhile, are preparing to close hundreds more branches before the end of the year.
Age UK director Caroline Abrahams said: ‘Shared banking hubs are a great idea for places where all the individual bank branches have closed, but they are coming into being at a snail’s pace, leaving some towns and villages without any physical banking options nearby at all.’
Oakley said branches will not close until a banking hub – either temporary or permanent – had been established.