Charity welcomes Brechin banking hub

The announcement that a new shared banking hub is to open in Brechin has been welcomed by national charity Age Scotland.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The plans have been put forward by the Cash Action Group and LINK as part of a project to open 13 such facilities across the UK, with four in Scotland.

The other new Scottish hubs will be in Forres, Carluke and Kirkcudbright.

The first hubs were piloted last year in Cambuslang, in South Lanarkshire, and have proved to be popular, with usage more than doubling since they opened.

Age Scotland has said that many older people have struggled access to cash since the last bank in Brechin closed at the start of August.Age Scotland has said that many older people have struggled access to cash since the last bank in Brechin closed at the start of August.
Age Scotland has said that many older people have struggled access to cash since the last bank in Brechin closed at the start of August.

They have already had approaching 60,000 customer visits and transactions worth £16m have taken place.

The service operates in a similar way to a standard bank branch and the hubs feature a counter service that will be operated by staff from the Post Office, where customers of any bank can carry out transaction.

There are also private spaces where customers can speak to someone from their own bank for advice and support about more complex issues. Participating banks provide staff on a rota basis.

Age Scotland said that such a facility will be a positive move for older customers who have faced difficulties accessing cash since the town’s last remaining bank branch closed at the beginning of August.

The charity has called repeatedly for banks to look at the establishment of hubs to allow older people and those with disabilities full access to financial services.

Adam Stachura, head of policy and communications, said: “These hubs can be a great help by providing some local banking services, but banks shouldn’t offload responsibility or rely on them being set up to replicate the branches they have closed, or expect them to fully repair the damage they have done by letting down their customers and communities.

“We know that closures penalise older and disabled customers the most. A third of people over 50 don’t use a smartphone and 500,000 over 60s don’t have access to the internet. In addition, many older people simply prefer not to use online banking. Hundreds of thousands of older people are being left disadvantaged by the continued retreat of banks from the high street.”

“Banking hubs offer customers the opportunity to have face-to-face conversations with staff about their financial affairs and cuts out the need for long and sometimes challenging journeys to visit the nearest bank branch.

"This is a positive move, which supports customers’ financial well-being and reduces the risk of online scams. We hope it will be replicated in other towns where customers have been deprived of a bank branch.”

Related topics: