AN AGREEMENT between high-street banks, consumer groups and the government is a ‘massive step in the right direction’.
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the move which will see the banks working with customers to minimise the impact on them when a branch closes.
Business secretary Vince Cable wrote to banks in December calling for clear procedures setting out the steps that banks would take when closing a branch to ensure customers in rural and deprived areas do not lose out.
In the agreement, the banks have to work with communities to establish the impact of the branch closure before it shuts, find suitable alternative provision and put satisfactory, alternative banking services in place before a branch is closed.
Ms Dinenage said: ‘This is a massive step in the right direction.
‘I asked the chancellor about this last year so I am pleased we are being listened to.
‘It is really good that they have come up with this plan because the banks do make a good argument for why they are closing but it is impacting on areas who are losing their last branches.
‘There has been an increase in people using internet banking but the closures do not help vulnerable people who cannot drive or have no access to the internet.’
Ms Dinenage campaigned to keep the HSBC branch in Lee-on-the-Solent open after it was the last branch in the area.
But the bank closed in November.
It has recently installed an ATM near Tesco Express as there was only one other available on High Street.