The chief UK monetary regulator will acquire new powers to make sure that banks and constructing societies proceed to supply entry to money, the federal government will announce on Thursday.
New laws will allow the Monetary Conduct Authority to intervene to make sure communities aren’t minimize off from banking providers as ministers search to handle the affect of the disappearance of branches from the excessive avenue over the previous decade.
The federal government promised to set out “its expectations for an affordable distance” for folks to journey to deposit and withdraw money “sooner or later” as a part of the proposed modifications.
“Hundreds of thousands of individuals throughout the UK nonetheless depend on money, significantly these in weak teams,” mentioned financial secretary John Glen. “We’re delivering on our promise to make sure that entry to money is protected in communities throughout the nation.”
The additional FCA powers will probably be legislated for as a part of the monetary providers and markets invoice, introduced within the Queen’s Speech final Tuesday, and contains provisions to enhance the competitiveness of the UK’s capital markets and higher assist for victims of fraud.
“There are 10mn folks within the UK who depend on money, which is why we welcome right now’s information that the federal government is committing to introducing laws to guard it inside this parliament,” mentioned John Howells, chief govt of Hyperlink, which operates the nation’s largest ATM community.
Whereas the Covid pandemic has accelerated a transfer to digital-first banking, lenders have been closing down their costly department community for years. Some 226 closures out of fewer than 7,000 remaining bodily banks have been introduced within the yr thus far.
Nonetheless, rural communities, weak teams and the aged who’re extra reliant on financial institution branches threat being pressured to journey vital distances to entry money providers. It stays the second most often used methodology of cost within the UK.
When HSBC introduced in March that it was closing 69 of its 510 branches, it mentioned clients must journey a median of 4 miles for an in-person service.
Knowledge from Hyperlink exhibits that whereas money transactions declined notably throughout lockdown, money use remained vital. Within the first quarter, Hyperlink’s ATMs registered £18.9mn in money transactions, a drop from £29.2mn in the identical interval in 2019.
In December, the Submit Workplace and the large lenders introduced a brand new initiative to take care of entry to money throughout the nation. Hyperlink has been given the function of assessing the wants of affected communities.
Its proposals embody creating “financial institution hubs”, following profitable pilots in Rochford, Essex, and Cambuslang, exterior Glasgow. These are run collectively by the Submit Workplace and a revolving group of bankers from the lenders concerned within the scheme.