A north-east MP has backed a bill which would require banks to continue providing an in-person service for customers even if they close their branches.
The Banking Services (Post Offices) Bill, which was introduced to Parliament by Conservative MP Duncan Baker earlier this year, would mandate high street banks to continue providing a service to their customers through the Post Office network.
It follows the closure of 17 TSB branches in the north-east, prompting concerns over the impact on the ability of elderly customers and those in rural areas to continue to access banks.
However, Aberdeen South MP Stephen Flynn said their plans are not the norm – and said the new bill would “ensure nobody is left behind”.
“The news that TSB are to run some pop-up services here is welcome however we know this is far from common when banks close their doors and it’s certainly not a like-for-like replacement,” Mr Flynn said.
“Time and time again high street banks shut up shop despite there being so many people who rely on cash transactions to manage their finances – this is why I’m backing a bill which would mean banks are legally required to run cash services through the Post Office network.
“Some areas in Aberdeen are in an unacceptable situation where there is simply no bank, but this sensible move would mean the vast majority of banking services can continue to be done in person and in the community at your local Post Office.
“We cannot ignore the fact that services are increasingly moving online, but that doesn’t mean that banks should abandon communities in that process – this common-sense proposal would ensure nobody is left behind.”
The National Federation of Sub-Postmasters, which worked on the bill, said it could secure the future of Post Office branches as well as ensuring a continued banking presence on the high street.
In a statement, the organisation said: “The bill seeks to ensure that banks are required to offer banking services for their customers, including the provision of cash, via the post office network.
“The NFSP believes that if successful, this bill would not only ensure access to cash for the local community when a local bank branch closes, but it would also strengthen the future of post office branches.”