New shared high street banks open in multiple locations
A new shared high street bank has opened in two locations in the UK as part of a pilot scheme to offer customers the chance to still have their bank nearby.
The new BankHUB branches have opened in Rochford in Essex and Cambuslang near Glasgow. They are open Monday to Friday and on each day of the week represent a different bank.
Five major banks collaborate
On a Monday, the banking hub is staffed by NatWest. It’s a Lloyds branch on Tuesday and a Santander branch on Wednesday. Thursday it becomes a Barclays branch before it ends the week as a branch of HSBC.
The services offered by each bank differ, so customers may find their options limited when they visit. For example, Santander customers can only use ATMs, make transactions on their phone with the support of staff, and use the branch to talk to the telephone banking service. Services such as reporting lost bank cards, or recovering lost login information, will be added soon.
NatWest customers have access to almost all normal banking services, including reporting a bereavement or undertaking a mortgage agreement in principle. The only restriction is on making payments worth more than £20,000.
Natalie Ceeney heads the Community Access to Cash pilots scheme and has said that more services will likely be rolled out based on demand.
We are looking to find out what other services people want so banks will understand how best to serve local people.
As well as the banking services, a Post Office desk is in the branch, available to customers whenever the store is open for all regular services. Visitors can use this desk to pay in change and cheques, make withdrawals and pay bills, regardless of which bank they are a customer with.
Future of high street banking
The pilot scheme is one of several being considered as more and more branches are closed around the country. In Rochford, site of one of the new BankHUB locations, many customers faced an 8-mile round trip to Southend-on-Sea to visit their local branch before this new pilot.
Other plans include shared hubs with multiple banks at one location throughout the week, such as the start-up OneBanks. However if the BankHUB pilot is successful over the next six months, then it is hoped to be rolled out across more locations in the UK later in 2021.
A third branch was already planned in Ampthill in Bedfordshire, but plans were abandoned when a suitable venue couldn’t be found. There are plans to get eight locations up and running as part of the pilot scheme.
People will need to show their support by going to these hubs in the next six months. I am concerned that people are still behaving differently during the pandemic and that some may stay away from them as a result.