Banks will be banned from leaving cities if it means residents cannot withdraw cash under the new FCA powers

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Banks will be prevented from withdrawing their services from towns and villages that will not have access to cash as new powers are given to Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will have the power to order the largest banks and building societies to continue providing services such as ATMs and mobile centers so that residents can withdraw money regularly.

Under the new powers that will be included in the upcoming Financial Services and Markets Law, banks can continue to close branches even if the latter are in a particular municipality.

However, they will have to replace them with alternative services in certain circumstances and ensure they are easily accessible, leaving almost all Brits within two miles of a free cash dispenser.

More than 4,700 bank branches have closed since 2015, and another 227 are set to close by the end of this year as banks seek to switch to more and more digital services.

John Glen, Wirtschaftsminister des Finanzministeriums, sagte: „Millionen von Menschen im Vereinigten Königreich sind immer noch auf Bargeld angewiesen, insbesondere diejenigen in schutzbedürftigen Gruppen, und chen pree u terme lösen Zünge denge lösen ver he is .

“I want to make sure that people can continue to use cash as part of their daily lives and it is critical to make sure no one or community across the UK is left behind as we move towards a more digital world.”

The Scottish government welcomed the move given the large number of relatively remote communities in Scotland at risk of losing easy access to cash.

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A spokesman said: “The Scottish Government welcomes this much-needed legislation to protect consumer access to cash.

“This is especially important for rural communities and the lifeblood of consumers, especially the most vulnerable and small businesses.”

“Having a strong regulator ensuring the rights of the millions of people who rely on cash can conveniently and securely access it for years to come is something we and we have to do,” said Martin Kersley, Postal Banking Products Manager. Requested.

“We welcome the government’s announcement and want to see legislation protecting the entire cash cycle, including cash-to-dime withdrawals, as many people choose to control their family budgets by spending only what they have in hand.”

The exact extent of the FCA’s powers – such as the banks and building societies involved and the maximum distance between ATMs – will be announced when the bill is published.

Later this year, ministers are also expected to come up with proposals to ensure that people can not only withdraw money but also deposit it without having to travel an unreasonable distance.

Great Britain’s money deserts

The steady rise in online and mobile banking means that bank branches across the country are closing at a rapid pace.

After searching by Which?, nearly half of the country’s bank branch network has closed since 2015 3 f. In the past four years alone, 12,178 free-to-use ATMs have disappeared from the main streets.

Some areas have become virtual cash deserts, although Link, the UK’s largest ATM network, estimates that 5.4 million people still rely on physical money.

The most vulnerable groups in society rely more on cash, such as the elderly, the low-income and people living in rural communities where residents often have to travel miles to reach the nearest source.

Digital infrastructure is often weak in these areas, which makes it difficult for residents to accept banking and online payments.

Lack of access to both cash withdrawal and cash deposit facilities can also affect businesses that use bank branches to change inventory and take bank notes and coins off-site for security reasons.

Scotland was the first part of the UK to shut down more than half of its banks, with 545 of the 1,040 already having to close. me You realize that one of the most remote ATMs on Britain’s northernmost island, Unst, has recently closed.

The parliamentary constituencies of Carmarthen East and Dainfor in Wales have seen the largest number of bank branch closures since 2018, according to the data. Which?. Out of 15, only two remain.

But more urban areas are also experiencing closures. In Sheffield Hallam, South Yorkshire, all bank branches were closed during the same period. With 25 ATMs still in operation in an area of ​​just under 92,000 residents, there are only 1.85 ATMs per 10,000 residents.

Amy Walker

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