The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on access to cash and banking services with many bank branches having to close. Maintaining access to cash and alternative banking services is vital for customers and local communities, now more so than ever. The Access to Banking Standard aims to help minimise the impact of bank branch closures on communities. It is designed to ensure that customers affected by the closures receive sufficient communication and clarity on the reasons for the closure and adequate support in accessing alternative banking services.
The Standard, overseen by the LSB, applies once the decision to close a branch has been taken and therefore the role of the LSB does not extend to approving or commenting on the banks’ decision to close branches.
The activity reviewed for this summary report covers a total of ten closure programmes across the nine firms registered to the Standard; with one firm review completed in 2019 covering 17 branch closures, and nine firm reviews undertaken during 2020 covering 357 branch closures.
Our review evidenced areas of good practice from all firms involved in the review and we did not identify any areas of non-compliance with the Standard. Some areas of improvement were identified and firms have been issued with individual reports and action plans which the LSB will continue to monitor.
Read the summary report in our resource hub here. Registered firms, log in to the website to access exclusive insights in our resource hub.
We also recently launched a formal review of the Access to Banking Standard, seeking to determine whether it remains an effective means of achieving fair outcomes for customers impacted by a branch closure, or reduction in access to key banking services.
We would welcome responses to the questions raised in this consultation and any related feedback by 5pm on 4 August 2021.