I want to be clear, banking hubs won’t be perfect. Banking hubs will have limitations. So why did I apply for one and why am I writing this you may ask?

I applied for one because despite the limitations, a banking hub can only be positive for the town. I am writing this to counter the negative comments being made online about the banking hub.

The limitations

Let me be open, and start with the limitations as I see them.

  • The banking hub will only open Monday to Friday 9 to 5 – Yes this is annoying, but many banks operated this way. Personally, I would like to see, them open for longer hours, including weekends (even if it’s just the mornings) and I will continue to lobby for this to happen.
  • My bank is only there one day a week – This is a clear financial choice and whilst an annoying limitation, it is this shared facility that makes the banking hubs the only viable choice for face to face, personal banking, in small towns such as ours.
  • Not all banks will be available – Clearly there are more than five banks, and with only one per day those chosen for Calne will be based on the number of users of those banks in the area. Other banks have chosen not to partake in the scheme at all, and I think that says all you need to know about those banks.
  • Initially It won’t have a cash point – Disappointingly true. New applications may get a cash point considered as part of their banking hub, unfortunately this change to the legislation happened after I made Calne’s application. I will continue to lobby for Calne to get an external accessible cash point installed as part of the hub at a later date.

The Advantages

  • They will offer a dedicated counter for cash services.
  • They will allow customers to withdraw and deposit cash.
  • They will offer the full suite of everyday banking services and bill payments over the counter.
  • They will allow customers to be able to see their local community banker for in-person help.
  • They will offer more complicated transactions such as mortgages, loans, acknowledgement of Lasting Power of Attorneys with the bank, managing your pensions, and much much more. 
  • They give you the choice of face to face banking, which was taken away when branches closed.
  • Increased Privicy and Security
  • The banking hub will be Disability Discrimination Act compliant
  • You won’t get stuck in a queue behind someone posting a dozen parcels, as the banking hub will not be offering postal services.
  • You won’t get stuck in a queue in the middle of a grocery shop, getting in the way of someone doing their weekly shop.

It is true, that much of the above can be done at existing post offices, online or even over the phone, but not everyone can get online, not everyone is comfortable online, you can’t withdraw cash online or over the phone. Sometimes you just have to sit down and discuss face to face, in private the important more complicated issues. You need to be able to have a choice on how you bank, and a banking hub gives you that choice.

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