Banks say 'don't worry' as they sign deal to close last bank in town
The banks of Britain have asked everyone not worry, regarding the fact that they've just signed an agreement where they can close branches, even if it is the last one in a community. They're collectively saying that they will be investing in branches for "for decades to come".
And of course, we all unreservedly trust the people who run banks, don't we?
Anyway, Sky News, have got their hands on a report called the 'Access To Banking Protocol' which will be released tomorrow. Banks are going to have to provide 12 weeks worth of notice if they are to close a branch, as well as publishing an assessment of what they expect the impact to be on their customers.
"Banks will publish the results of their engagement and impact assessment, and the considerations taken into account in assessing the impact of the branch closure, subject to the removal of commercially sensitive information," the document says. "The results will be made public before the closure of the branch."
Will this stop banks from closing down branches where they're not making much money? Not likely. In fact, the document alludes to that, saying: "While ensuring that customers are treated fairly, decisions on branch closures are ultimately commercial decisions for banks to take."
With lenders closing branches all over the country, this will concern many. However, it is hoped that there'll be provisions where smaller communities can be served by the Post Office and credit unions: "Banks will… engage at an early stage with the Post Office to coordinate communications, operational planning and use of brand."
While some will just focus on internet banking, "banks will take into account the local availability of broadband and access to alternative ways to bank for vulnerable customers."
The thing we're wondering about, is what will happen to banks if they don't play fair or stick to the new protocol? There's no talk of any repercussions or penalties for those that don't comply.