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New banking hub pilot in Cambuslang a ‘game changer’ for residents and local businesses

News story posted: 23/09/2020

Cambuslang's Community Access to Cash pilot has brought a banking hub to the communityCambuslang community council have been successful in bringing a new banking hub pilot to their community aimed at supporting financially vulnerable customers in accessing cash and supporting small businesses.

 

Three years ago Cambuslang Main Street lost all of their major bank branches and the community have been keen to address the issue ever since.

Cambuslang Community Council successfully applied to the Community Access to Cash Pilot (CACP) initiative and Cambuslang is one of nine Cash Pilot locations across the UK, where trials are being tested to help address challenges of improving cash access and acceptance.

 

As local leaders of the pilot, the first of its kind in Scotland, Cambuslang Community Council is now working with other local organisations – Healthy n Happy CDT, Cambuslang Credit Union, LEAP, Cambuslang Tenants & Residents Association and Cambuslang Citizens Advice Bureau – to develop the pilot, supported by FSB Scotland and by local MP Margaret Ferrier who has been campaigning on better access to cash in the House of Commons.

Included in the pilot are:

 

  • A Post Office Banking Hub in an empty retail outlet, with the Post Office offering transactional services in a private environment, with community banking support from the major banks, debt advice, and support for financial issues
  • A ‘Drop and Go’ cash deposit facility for small businesses in the Banking Hub to make it easier for local businesses to bank cash, whichever bank they are with
  • Cashback with purchase offered by a large number of local stores
  • Cashback without purchase offered by PayPoint convenience stores
  • Widespread advertisement of what the banks can offer vulnerable customers
  • Digital education services to help those who want to access digital banking services, designed for the Cambuslang community
  • A Vulnerable Customer Directory – ensuring that everyone is aware of the services that the retail banks can offer to vulnerable customers.

 

Cambuslang in South Lanarkshire is one of three locations piloting new ‘banking hubs’ and John Bachtler, Chair of Cambuslang Community Council (which is leading the Cambuslang Access to Cash Pilot) said: “The loss of all three of our bank branches three years ago severely damaged our Main Street. Many small businesses lost trade, and the lack of local banking facilities caused major problems for the most vulnerable parts of our community – those on low incomes, the unemployed, the elderly and those with caring responsibilities. We are delighted at the opportunity to pilot a Banking Hub on Cambuslang Main Street, managed by the Post Office and offering a range of basic banking services to businesses and local residents. We have had great support from the Community Access to Cash Pilot team, and we look forward to making the Banking Hub a success.”

 

Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Margaret Ferrier is excited by the news and said: “The Community Access to Cash pilot is a game-changing development for residents in Cambuslang and it is exciting to see such wide-ranging and ambitious proposals to support banking within the community. At a time when coronavirus continues to cause financial anxiety for my constituents, I hope that these new facilities will encourage more people to shop local and support efforts to recover from the pandemic, as well as improving financial literacy across the board.  I look forward to seeing the new financial hub take shape in the coming months and I would encourage all constituents in Cambuslang to make the most of these exciting new facilities when they get going next year”

 

Each pilot community will start implementing their solutions over the remainder of 2020, with the aim that they are all fully operational by the end of the year. The pilots will operate for the first six months of 2021 and will report back their findings next summer.

 

Natalie Ceeney, Chair of the Community Access to Cash Pilot initiative said: “Cash remains critically important to both individuals and communities across the UK. The rapid switch to digital is threatening the viability of today’s cash infrastructure. This can lead to consumers left without cash access or forced to leave their own village or town to get cash elsewhere, often at significant inconvenience and cost. In turn, local retailers lose custom, as consumers spend their cash elsewhere, and then struggle to bank their cash takings without shutting up shop to drive to a bank branch some miles away, losing revenue and frustrating customers. It’s critical that we find ways to protect the viability of cash, for consumers and communities alike.

“These pilots are designed to find sustainable ways to keep cash viable locally, which, if successful, can then be rolled out more widely. The government has already committed to legislate to protect cash, and the financial services regulators are working closely with banks to identify practical next steps. Our aim is to use the pilots to critically inform this work.

 

“The work we’ve done with local communities has shown us in some detail what is needed. It’s clear that to keep communities viable, people need to be able to get cash easily, in a variety of ways. ATMs are important, but don’t meet everyone’s needs, particularly the most vulnerable, so being able to get cash over a counter, in a safe space, is still important to many. Small businesses equally need to be able to deposit cash, and locally, so that they don’t need to close their shop to bank their cash.

 

“These pilots will use innovative technology to help people access and deposit cash. The pilots will also work with key existing service providers to explore how they can support the cash infrastructure, by creating local drop in spaces for community banking, retailers offering cashback widely and Post Offices enhancing their services to create a new model of ‘Post Office Banking Hubs’. The commitment of the major banks, the Post Office, LINK and key consumer groups to all work together on this initiative gives us confidence that we can create solutions which keep cash viable in a sustainable way.”

 

Nick Read, Chief Executive, Post Office, said: “Our branches provide critical cash deposit and withdrawals services for millions of personal and business customers every week. We will use these pilots to trial new designs in selected branches; and introduce automated cash deposit facilities for business and personal customers who may have previously used this service at a bank branch. Everyone should have the right to use cash and be able to easily and securely access it wherever is most convenient to them. We are pleased to be playing a key role in these pilots and our Postmasters who are taking part will be in a position to share important insights that will make a real difference as to how we continue to best meet peoples’ cash needs in future.”

 

Cambuslang Community Council have kindly offered to share their knowledge and experiences of working on the banking hub pilot with interested community councils.  They can be contacted via e-mail: cambuslangcomco@aol.com

 

For more information:

 

Cambuslang Community Council Website

Community Access to Cash Pilots

Health and Happy CDT Website

Cambuslang Credit Union Facebook

LEAP Project Website

Cambuslang Citizens Advice Bureau Website

Margaret Ferrier MP Website

FSB Scotland

 

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