New banking hub to come to Alcester - The Redditch Standard

New banking hub to come to Alcester

Lise Evans 10th Jul, 2024   0

ALCESTER will be getting a new banking hub as part of a plan to protect access to cash in the town.

The announcement from LINK – the UK’s cash access and ATM network – comes after last Thursday’s announcement that Lloyds, Alcester’s last remaining bank, is set to close.

The branch on Stratford Road will shut its doors, five years after Barclays shut up shop in 2019 and the loss of HSBC which closed in 2013.

The news created much consternation on social media channels over the weekend, with users expressing concerns about access to cash and services for people who did not drive. It has also troubled business owners who have said it would drive up operating costs.

Jayne Richman-Bolt, from Orangemabel tea rooms on High Street, told the Standard: “As a business which banks with Lloyds, it’s an inconvenient loss.

“It is forcing businesses into card-only transactions as we are losing the ability to bank our cash takings and get change.

“Although cash is in decline, we still handle a lot of it which does keep our costs down, as card processing fees are the equivalent to at least a month’s wage.

“So, we could be employing another member of staff rather than paying out on these high fees.

“That aside, we will miss the staff who will be moved elsewhere or even lose their jobs.”

Former mayor and town councillor Vaughan Blake added: “The closure of Lloyds potentially leaves Alcester with no bank.

“This is a blow to the town and will reduce footfall considerably.

“It is hoped, however, that a new banking hub will go someway to alleviating the problem.”

Banking hubs are a shared banking space, similar to a traditional bank branch, but available to everyone.

Alcester’s hub will consist of a counter service operated by Post Office employees, where customers of any bank can withdraw and deposit cash, make bill payments and carry out regular banking transactions.

In addition, there will be private spaces where customers can speak to community bankers from their own bank for more complicated matters that require specialist knowledge or privacy.

The banks will be working on a rotating basis, meaning there will be staff from different banks available on different days.

Chris Ashton, chief commercial officer, LINK, said: “We’re pleased to recommend this new hub in Alcester.

“Many people locally still need cash and this hub will play a crucial role in helping them access it on the High Street.

“We’re determined to make sure that, as we all choose new ways to pay, people who use cash in places like Alcester have the benefit of a convenient, accessible location to access and deposit cash on the high street.”

The banking hub will be created by Cash Access UK and will likely open in 12 months’ time


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