This guidance sets out our expectation that firms should consider the impact of a planned closure or conversion of branches or ATMs on their customers’ everyday banking needs.
Why we’re publishing this guidance
We’re seeking to protect consumers by making sure that firms assess customer needs and consider the availability and provision of alternatives where closures or conversions are planned.
We consulted on guidance that sets out our expectations of firms when they are deciding whether and how to reduce their physical branches or the number of free-to-use ATMs (including a closure, or a ‘conversion’ of a free-to-use ATM to pay-to-use). We seek to make sure that the way firms implement these decisions leads to fair outcomes for consumers, particularly those who rely on access to cash.
Who this applies to
It applies to regulated firms that operate (or have agents operate) branches, or ATMs (cash machines or cashpoints), and who are subject to Principles 6, 7, and 11 of our Principles for Businesses. It applies when such a firm proposes or decides to close or convert such sites, with some limited exceptions.
This guidance applies from 21 September 2020.
In the 2020 Budget, the Government stated its intention to introduce legislation to protect access to cash for those who need it. We’re working closely with the Government on that legislation, and our guidance does not pre-empt any decisions regarding it. We’ll review our guidance within the next 12 months in the light of market developments and/or the timing of forthcoming legislation and will revise it if appropriate.
We continue to work with the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) on access to cash, as outlined in our joint statement of 16 June on our approach.