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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

Access to Cash Consultation


The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which is responsible for regulating and supervising the UK retail banking industry recently launched a consultation on how they can support access to cash and on the rules surrounding rurality and where communities can establish banking hubs.



The deployment of “Banking Hubs” is seen as the most efficient way to provide cash services while also providing some in-person banking services. Under this initiative, the operator of the UK’s main ATM network, LINK, assesses community cash access needs where cash access facilities close or consumers report there are gaps in provision. It then works with firms to deliver additional services where these assessments identify additional services are required.



I have in the past made representations for a banking hub for Kilbirnie or elsewhere in the Garnock Valley, which has not a single bank operating, similar to the one that recently opened in Troon.



I was told by LINK that “a new solution is not considered to be necessary in Kilbirnie” as “the current level of access to cash provision being assessed as being suitable for the community” despite there being no branches anywhere.


The FCA’s new powers don’t prevent bank branches from closing. However, the rules will have an impact where branches are a key local source of cash and on the rules where communities can establish banking hubs.


I therefore encourage everyone who would be keen on the establishment of a banking hub in their area to respond to the consultation document before 08 February. The FCA expects to finalise the rules by Quarter 3 of this year.


This is also a matter that North Ayrshire’s MP Patricia Gibson has repeatedly raised with UK ministers. She pressed them to review the level of the interchange fee which is set by LINK to cover the operation and management of free-to-use cash machines and to ensure that constituents can continue to access their cash for free during these difficult times.


In a speech to the Scottish Parliament last Thursday, Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy, Neil Gray MSP said that bank closures are of “great concern to the Scottish Government, as we believe that the ability to access cash is essential in our society and that in-person banking still plays an important role in our communities.”


While banking is entirely reserved to the UK Government, Mr Gray said that the Scottish Government will engage with the FCA in the coming period and that he will meet the chief executive, Nikhil Rathi to discuss the issue


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