Post Office Ltd set to provide more services for banks
Britain’s Post Office Ltd is in talks with the banking industry with the aim of standardising banking services provided through post office branches. It could mean UK post offices providing more banking services, particularly for small business customers.
The negotiations come after the banking industry’s trade association, the British Bankers Association agreed a new protocol with the UK government on how they would support alternative access to their services when closing branches.
The protocol notes Post Office Ltd’s network of 11,700 branches as an option for providing alternative banking services when a bank’s branch is closed.
The government said banks have a duty to ensure all their customers can access over-the-counter banking services, and that not all customers can access services online.
The last Budget pledged to deliver an agreement between the banks and the Post Office on a standard approach to providing counter services for personal current account customers and business account customers in Post Office branches by the end of March 2015.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The next stage is for the banks to reach a commercial agreement with the Post Office to improve the facilities for small business customers so that they can get a consistent level of service like consumers.”
Nick Kennett, the director of Post Office Financial Services, said banking customers would benefit from the transformation programme, with longer opening hours at post offices and refurbished branches.
“Over 4,000 branches have already been modernised offering over 100,000 extra opening hours for customers,” he said. “The banks can establish commercial arrangements with us, so that we can meet the needs of both their personal and businesses customers. We welcome that the protocol recognises the vital role Post Offices plays at the heart of communities to support banking services.”
Anthony Browne, chief executive of BBA, said the post office network provided an “ideal shared service” for banking customers who prefer to use counter services.
“It’s important to remember there are nearly 10,000 branches open for business and 11,500 Post Offices where many of us can now withdraw cash, pay in cheques and use other counter services,” he said.