Banking desert farce as town loses its last branch then wins fight for new hub | Personal Finance | Finance

Civic leaders are rejoicing after successfully persuading bank executives to set up a new banking hub in the Somerset town of Nailsea. The town was left without a local bank when the last one, Lloyds in the Crown Glass shopping centre, permanently closed its doors in February this year.

The closure left locals with only a cash machine at Tesco and the Nailsea Post Office for their banking needs. In response, town councillors campaigned for LINK to establish a new banking hub, which will offer residents access to all major banks under one roof.

LINK has announced that it will open the hub, likely in about a year’s time. It will be a shared banking space, akin to a traditional bank branch, accessible to everyone.

It will feature a counter service run by the Post Office for regular banking transactions, as well as private areas where customers can consult with community bankers from their own bank for more complex issues.

LINK has reiterated that the hub, expected to open in roughly a year, will be a communal banking space. Similar to a conventional bank branch, it will be open to all and will include a counter service managed by the Post Office for standard banking transactions, reports Somerset Live.

Additionally, there will be private spaces where customers can discuss more intricate matters with community bankers from their respective banks.

Community banking hubs are becoming increasingly common in many towns, including one currently being established in Keynsham, as standalone High Street banks retreat from smaller market towns.

The town council clerk of Nailsea expressed her delight at the news. “We are delighted that LINK has taken on board the town council genuine concerns for a lack of banking facilities in Nailsea,” Jo Duffy stated.

“Our thanks to the councillors who didn’t take no for an answer,” she added.

Currently, there are 53 banking hubs across the country, with approximately another 80 in the pipeline. Over the coming weeks, LINK plans to start ‘engaging with the local community’ to identify potential sites, and it is expected that the banking hub will be operational in about 12 months.

“Access to cash remains really important for many people across the country,” said Nick Quin, LINK’s head of financial inclusion. “We’re always pleased to hear from the local community about their high street. That’s why we visited Nailsea earlier this year and we’re pleased to confirm today that a new hub will now be delivered,” he confirmed.

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