ACS Responds to Review on Access to Banking

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has responded to the independent review of the Access to Banking Protocol, which details how banks should ensure sufficient access to banking services following the closure of branches. This year-on review of the Protocol will consider the way banks have applied it in practice, and the extent to which pre-closure assessment, community engagement and local impact assessments have informed the identification of suitable alternative ways to bank.

The submission highlights the important role retailers are playing by providing access to cash for their local communities through hosting ATMs. However, their liability as a separate hereditament to a store and the charging of their business rates by the ATM operator onto retailers is undermining their provision. The banking industry should therefore be aware that the incentives for convenience retailers to provide ATMs are declining, a trend which could reduce access to cash in local communities.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "The banking industry should work with the ATM industry, ATM operators and local communities to retain cash availability when a branch closes. This should be done through genuine efforts to maintain ATM provision when banks are delivering the Access to Banking Protocol. It is important that local authorities also use Discretionary Rate Relief powers to support ATM operators and the provision of cash in communities."

ACS has also drawn attention to the declining remuneration that retailers are receiving for providing postal services. This is undermining the financial model of banking services of Post Office Limited being provided through convenience stores and requires consideration in the review. For these reasons, the Access to Banking Protocol should ensure that banks provide adequate remuneration to operators of these banking and Post Office services when they exit an area.

For more information on this submission, please contact Steve Dowling by email or phone at 01252 533009.

This entry was posted by Chris on Thu, 28/07/2016 - 13:15