Four new banking hubs to be opened in Scotland for communities which have lost branches

Four new banking hubs in Scotland will be among those being opened across the UK, in a bid to help communities which have been hit by bank closures.

The move will bring the total number planned to 25, according to ATM network Link and the Cash Action Group, which includes banking industry representatives and others.

Banking hubs operate in a similar way to bank branches, but their services are shared, with banks providing staff on rotation so that trained specialists from different banks are available on different days.

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The 13 new hubs will be in locations including Brechin in Angus, Forres in Moray, Carluke in Lanarkshire, Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway, Axminster in Devon, Barton-upon-Humber in Lincolnshire, Lutterworth in Leicestershire, Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire, Cheadle in Staffordshire, Belper in Derbyshire, Maryport in Cumbria and Hornsea in Yorkshire.

Many communities have lost all banks, and a number of people still use cash.Many communities have lost all banks, and a number of people still use cash.
Many communities have lost all banks, and a number of people still use cash.

Additionally, the first banking hub under the scheme in Northern Ireland will open in Kilkeel in Newry.

Banks and building societies have asked Link to identify communities that need help and the locations have been selected as part of that work.

The first banking hubs were piloted last year in Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire and Rochford in Essex. The two hubs have already had approaching 60,000 customer visits and transactions worth £16 million have taken place since they opened.

As the impact of the cost-of-living crisis becomes increasingly apparent, the hubs are likely to become an ever more important resource, particularly in communities with minimal or limited cash access or banking facilities, those behind the initiative said.

John Bachtler, chair of the Cambuslang Community Council, said: "The banking hub is the centre of our community and it's bringing life back to the high street and crucially helping people and businesses with their everyday banking needs.

"It gets busier and busier every week and we know it will make a significant difference in other communities across the UK."

Bank branch closures, alongside other trends, have sparked concerns about people's continued ability to easily access cash.

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The Post Office also has an agreement that helps people to do their everyday banking over its counters.

Convenience stores have also been offering cashback at tills as part of the initiatives to address gaps in the cash system.

There are also initiatives under way to provide standalone deposit services and banking services in libraries or community centres.

The UK Government has also said that people across the UK will benefit from new legislation to protect access to cash.

Natalie Ceeney, chair of the Cash Action Group, said: "This is only the start. The hub network will expand significantly to meet the demand of communities across the UK. I would expect us to be supporting hundreds of communities within a few years."

John Howells, CEO of Link, said: "The UK isn't ready to go cashless yet and it's vital to protect our national cash infrastructure for the millions of consumers who still rely on cash. The intended legislation is a very positive step that will ensure access to cash for UK consumers for years to come.

"Any community with a problem with access to cash can now contact LINK and ask for help."

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