Four areas are added to the banking hub waiting list | Techy Kings

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A woman pushes a baby carriage past the new Bank Hub on April 7, 2021 in Rochford, England.

The hub allows customers of various banks to withdraw and deposit cash

Four more communities have been earmarked for shared banking hubs – becoming the latest in a list of 27 areas waiting for services to begin.

At this hub, customers of any bank can access their accounts, deposit cash and checks and withdraw money at any time.

Only two have opened so far, while hundreds of bank branches have been closed.

Concerns have been raised that local businesses and vulnerable residents will struggle without cash services.

The four new locations to receive hubs are: Bury Park in Bedfordshire, Haslemere in Surrey, Prestatyn in Denbighshire and Welling in south-east London.

Residents and local politicians asked for the hub to come to their area following the closure of the previous bank premises.

Teresa O’Neill, leader of Bexley Council, said she was excited the hub was coming to Welling.

“Since losing our last bank almost a year ago, the community has not had easy access to cash, meaning residents have had to travel for basic banking needs.

“This is also damaging to businesses that rely on banks to pay off their hires as well. We look forward to the changes that will be made within the city.”

The BBC visited a prototype shared banking hub in Rochford, Essex, and was told it had become a “lifeline” for many people living in the area after the last branch in the town closed.

Operating costs are the same as small branches, but are shared between the different banking groups that use them.

However, there are concerns that regular bank branches are closing at a rapid rate. Which user group? said that 587 branches had closed this year, with another 75 scheduled to close by the end of 2022, up from hundreds in previous years.

Bank closure graph

Bank closure graph

There is little chance of this new hub replacing many of the currently closed banks.

Difficulties in opening a new hub include finding suitable premises, and making it fully accessible and secure enough for banking services.

Natalie Ceeney, who chairs the Cash Action Group and Banking Hub Company, said: “We expect several more to be live before Christmas. We are making good progress with all the hubs and expect a large number to open in early 2023.

“When we visit a location that will get a hub, we look for a building that is the right size, is in the right location and has the facilities to support all the customers. We then often have to make changes to the building to make it suitable for a banking hub, some of which require us to get planning permission. This process is not always easy, but we are making good progress.

“What’s important is that this time last year, if a community lost their last branch, there was no solution. Over the next few years, we expect to be supporting hundreds of communities across the UK.”

Jenny Ross, money editor at Which?, said: “Banking hubs can play a vital role in ensuring local communities’ cash needs are met. However, roll-outs are taking too long and hubs must open as soon as possible so consumers can benefit.”

In addition to the hub, more withdrawal and deposit machines – which are unstaffed but can allow businesses to pay cash in their withdrawals – will be located in premises such as libraries and community centers and available during their hours of operation.

They will be based in Bingley in West Yorkshire, Finchley in north London, Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, Melksham in Wiltshire, Plympton in Devon and Sandbach in Cheshire.

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