On 9 August 2022, the House of Commons published a research briefing on the future of local banking services and access to cash. The research briefing provides an overview of the policy relating to the closure of bank and building society branches and to efforts to protect access to cash.

In particular:

  • The Government announced a commitment to legislating to protect access to cash in 2020.
  • The FCA has introduced “expectations” for banks, building societies and credit unions, as well as ATM providers, for plans to close branches or convert ATMs to pay-to-use. This widens and strengthens arrangements covered by the Access to Banking Standard.
  • The Financial Services Act 2021 enabled traders to offer cashback without a purchase.
  • The Government announced in May 2022 that the Financial Services and Markets Bill would protect access to cash by guaranteeing customers “reasonable access” for withdrawal and deposit facilities. It would set and amend geographic access requirements to achieve this. It would also formalise the FCA’s powers to oversee this. The Bill would also give the Bank of England powers to oversee the wholesale cash infrastructure.