The Post Office has announced a new agreement with 28 UK banks to ensure that millions of their customers continue to have national, free access to everyday banking services.
Our branches remain where banks no longer exist. With 6000 branches in rural areas customers of UK banks have grown to rely on our everyday banking services. In fact, last year over 28 per cent of people visited our branches to withdraw cash. We processed over 130 million transactions for UK banks last year.
We do not seek to replicate a bank in all its functions, but we do seek to support communities left behind when the banks close. So the services we offer such as cash withdrawals and cheque and cash deposits are a real lifeline to people living in rural areas. Furthermore, we’re there for small businesses who are able to deposit their day’s takings at our branches.
We recognise the hard work our Postmasters put in day in day out in serving customers across the country. That’s why we launched a review of postmaster remuneration. We are already passing on the increases in remuneration for processing cash deposits resulting from our new agreement with 28 UK banks. In addition we have increased the fixed payments made to community branches. These are just the first steps in ensuring our postmasters are fairly rewarded for providing vital services to communities across the UK, and in establishing a stronger partnership between us for the future.
When we announced our agreement with the banks in early October, a lot of attentions was focused on Barclay’s decision not to allow their customers withdraw cash at our 11,500 branches across the UK. We were of course delighted that they changed their mind. Barclays fully re-joined the twenty seven other UK banks in offering their customers access to our full range of everyday banking services, including cash withdrawals, cash and cheques deposits and balance enquiries.
Whether rural or urban, our branches offer a personal, secure face to face service for more elderly and vulnerable customers who may feel uncomfortable withdrawing cash on the street. They also have the convenience of doing some shopping or paying bills at the same time at our branches. Given the acceleration of bank branch closures in rural areas over recent years and the rise of fee-charging ATM machines, we are committed to remaining at the heart of communities across the UK.
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