Norfolk MP Duncan Baker Rural Banking Protection
We need to protect rural banking – that is the message from a member of Parliament for Norfolk.
North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker introduces a bill in Parliament that would ensure that banking services, such as cash withdrawals, are offered through the counters at Post Offices on Main Street after a branch closes banking in the region, with regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority.
“When a bank branch leaves the community, it’s not just residents who are affected, it’s small businesses, the elderly and vulnerable,” said Baker.
“Over the past 30 years we have seen about 14,000 bank branches closed across the country, next year there will be less than 6,000 left.
“Vulnerable or disabled people cannot always get to the nearest branch 10 miles away and instead turn to more predatory types of loans – like payday loans – and not everyone has access to them. online banking services. ”
Many banks already offer services via post when they close a branch, however, no measures are in place to prevent them from canceling their contracts.
Mr Baker pointed to Barclays, who in 2019 threatened to withdraw his services, a move they overturned after public outcry.
Mr Baker said he had received support from the Post and the whole of parliament.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK, also supported the bill, highlighting how important branches are for older people.
Ms Abrahams said there had been a “tsunami of branch closings” in recent years and the rapid switch to online banking had negatively impacted older customers.
“Closures in rural counties, where there may be a lack of public transportation, make it even more difficult for customers to access their money.
“The government should seriously consider making the postal banking framework mandatory. “
Ms Abrahams added that firm action like this would be essential without action to directly tackle branch closings, but said a wide range of options was needed to help people access their money.
The Banking Services (Post Offices) Bill will be introduced in the House of Commons on March 2.
The Age UK Norfolk helpline is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. Call 0300 500 1217 or email [email protected]
Have you suffered from the closure of a local bank branch? We would love to hear from you. Contact [email protected]