Gedling’s Tom Randall MP and 56 other MPs have today written a joint letter to Nikhil Rathi, Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), urging him to change the rules around banking hubs, in a bid to unlock more for areas like Gedling.
Since the passage of the Financial Services and Markets Act (2023), the FCA have become the regulator for LINK, the body responsible for assessing a community’s access to cash needs. LINK can recommend a banking hub or a similar scheme for a particular area. However, current FCA rules mean LINK are unable to recommend a banking hub until the last bank in town closes, subject to certain exceptions, risking a community’s access to cash.
The FCA are currently consulting on proposed changes to their rules. Among these include changing the “last bank in town” rule to a rule where LINK can intervene when the second-to-last bank in town closes instead.
However, Gedling MP Tom Randall and his colleagues have urged the FCA to go a step further. The 57 MPs, representing eight different parties in the House of Commons, have called on Mr Rathi “to grant LINK the ability to operate on a case-by-case basis” and argue that when “the direction of travel is clear… LINK should be able to recommend a banking hub” while “a few branches remain.”
The MPs argue that such a move would allow staff to be moved over to a banking hub more seamlessly and “ensure that a community is not plunged into a limbo period” where they lose their access to cash.
The FCA’s consultation runs until 8th February but is primarily targeted at businesses and banks.
Commenting, Tom Randall MP said: “Access to cash and banking services is extremely important to Gedling residents and our local businesses. While the Post Office offer great local banking services when banks have sadly closed, more needs to be done to ensure a bank presence remains on our high streets and that is why I am calling for a change to the FCA rules to enable a banking hub to be recommended long before the last bank in town shuts its doors to customers.”
Julie Marson, another MP signatory, added: “I’m very grateful to Tom and all other colleagues for signing the letter. We look forward to receiving Mr Rathi’s response in due course and seeing more banking hubs on our high streets.”