The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is considering introducing new rules which would give it the power to stop banks from closing branches. It is estimated that since the pandemic began, some 529 branches have been earmarked for closure. In June, Lloyds said that it was closing a further 44 branches and HSBC said it would be closing 82 branches. TSB has closed 246 branches over the last 12 months.
The Treasury said that it would use legislation to give the FCA powers to guarantee reasonable “public” access to cash facilities. The Financial Times has reported that “senior regulators have told lenders and industry groups that they believe in-person banking services should remain important alongside ATMs and other initiatives such as making cash more widely available.”.
Once the FCA’s new powers are published, there will be a period of consultation with key stakeholders. BTU will be pushing for the FCA to have the widest powers to stop branch closures and ensure that customers continue to have face-to-face contact with their banks.
We will keep members informed of developments through regular Newsletters.