UK banks to use Post Office network to expand face-to-face banking
UK Banks have partnered to allow customers to perform their day-to-day banking activities at the Post Office’s 11,600 branches. It’s being described as the biggest expansion in face-to-face banking access in a generation.
As of this week, 99% of UK personal bank customers, as well as three quarters of business customers, will be able to use the Post Office for their day-to-day banking.
Under the new partnership, Post Office’s existing arrangements with the banks will be consolidated into one set of cash and cheque services. Card-based transactions will enable real-time credit and debit payments into customer accounts.
Last year the Post Office carried out 110 million banking transactions across its network – an average of over 200 a minute and a six per cent increase from the previous year, and said that it expects the number to rise after the new deal. It also said that customers will benefit from longer Sunday hours and over 4000 branches that will be open on the day.
Nick Kennett, Chief Executive of Post Office Financial Services said, “This is great news for both personal and business customers of our partner banks. We are working with banks to ensure that our network of bricks and mortar locations gives consistent and widest possible availability of face-to-face banking services across the UK, with many customers already benefitting from this.”
The positive news for customers comes on the back of some less than great statistics. Recent research from Which? found that banks closed 1000 of their high street branches in the last two years. HSBC actually closed down more than a quarter of its branch network in that time.
Furthermore, in a bid to be more cost-effective, banks around the world have also started installing ATM readers away from branches.
Business Minister Margot James said: “Millions of consumers and small businesses across the UK will now benefit from unrivalled access to banking services, including on Sundays, thanks to the Post Office. This is the biggest expansion in branch banking services in a generation and I am delighted the network is able to offer these services to so many customers.”