Hazel Thorpe (LDem, Tarring) raised concerns about the decline in bank branches at Worthing Borough Council’s meeting last Tuesday (July 19).
“The closure of bank branches in many parts of Worthing and the removal of one in four ATMs is making it more difficult for workers and pensioners to access cash,” she said.
“The failure of major banks to offer mobile banking services to compensate for branch closures is causing unnecessary hardship for our residents.
“Not all of our local residents are confident about using online banking due to concerns about technology and internet banking scams.
“Small businesses need local facilities to bank money and get change. »
Ms Thorpe called on Borough Council Leader Beccy Cooper (Lab, Marine) to support alternatives such as banking centers – branches shared by multiple banks – and to commission a study into the matter.
Dr Cooper said ‘several residents’ had been in contact with her to tell her they were having trouble accessing banking services in person.
She agreed to meet Ms Thorpe to discuss a way forward.
A number of branches have closed in Worthing in recent years.
Some of those lost include Santander, 37 Goring Road, which closed in July 2021; an HSBC, also on Goring Road; and a Lloyds branch, on George V Avenue, which closed earlier this year.
A new law, the Financial Services and Markets Bill, entered parliament on Wednesday 20 July.
The government has said it will give the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) the power to regulate banks to ensure communities have access to cash facilities.
Card payments have overtaken cash as the most common payment method in the UK, but cash is still the second most frequently used.
It is believed that around 5.4 million adults rely on cash to a ‘very great’ or ‘great extent’ in their daily lives.
According to the FCA, 267 physical bank branches closed in the first six months of 2021.
Despite this, the regulator claims that 95.5% of the population is within two kilometers of an ATM.