Acton is to have banking services for residents with the introduction of the Banking Hub in June 2023. The Hub, the first ever one for London, will provide a shared banking space at The Oaks shopping centre and offer everyday banking for personal customers of most of the major banks and building societies.
Originally announced in December 2021, the Hub will see banking services once again being made available to Acton residents following the closure of banks including Barclays, HSBC and Santander over recent years.
Banking Hubs were originally trialled during the Community Access to Cash pilots in 2021. The success of the two pilots saw 10 major banks and building societies along their trade organisation, UK Finance, to work to deliver more Hubs across the country by setting up Cash Access UK, a not-for-profit company.
Another Banking Hub, and the first following the trial, opened in Brixham, Devon at the end of last year.
The Acton Hub will offer a counter service operated by the Post Office. Customers of the major banks and building societies will be able to carry out regular cash transactions from Monday to Friday.
The Hub will also offer a community banker service for Barclays, NatWest, Nationwide, Lloyds and Santander where customers can talk to their own banking provider about more complex issues and needs. The Community Bankers will be available on a specific day of the week each week. The rota is set to see Monday – NatWest, Tuesday – Barclays, Wednesday – Lloyds, Thursday – Nationwide, Friday -Santander.
A number of people connected to the Hub visited the site to see how building work was progressing.
Raghu Narula, managing director of customer engagement at NatWest said: “Cash remains an important part of the service that we offer to customers and communities across the UK. We work closely with Cash Access UK and the wider industry to ensure that cash remains widely accessible not just for our customers – but for everyone. We’re looking forward to providing a shared service to the people of Acton and the continued rollout of hubs across the UK to meet the needs of communities.”
Gareth Oakley, CEO of Cash Access UK said: “Acton will be the first Hub to open in a busy city location. We’re really looking forward to the Hub becoming part of the community and supporting local people and businesses. Having access to cash services is vital for millions of people around the UK, particularly in challenging financial times. Seeing the impact of the existing Hubs is a reminder of how important these services are – from cash transactions at the counter to the knowledge and support of the community bankers.”
Local MP for Ealing Central and Acton, Rupa Huq said: “The level of curiosity from the passing public during the time we were there underlines just what a much needed service this is. When one by one bank branches with drew from Acton the ghost premises left behind made for a sad site. With a fruit sand veg retailer now in the ex Santander and what looks like signs of life with renovation underway in what was Nat West, I’m hoping that the development of Acton bank hub spells a revival of Acton which is clearly on the up.
EALING.NEWS spoke to Cat Farrow, chief operating officer for Cash Access UK to find out more about how Acton residents can use Banking Hub.
Is there a minimum age to use the service and can children and young people who have accounts with these banks use the service?
There is no minimum age to use the service. Anyone with a bank account with a provider supported by the Post Office (which is the vast majority) can use a Hub. This includes children and young people. You can see which banks and building societies provide services through the Post Office counter here.
Can personal customers of the banks use it any day regardless of when their bank will be there on the day?
Yes, they can use the counter whenever the Hub is open.
Will people be able to take in coins to exchange for notes and also will people be able to bring in coins to put into their accounts? And is there any commission charged like some money banks at supermarkets?
The Post Office counter doesn’t offer a ‘coin for notes’ exchange service. However, customers can deposit coins into their account and then, as a subsequent transaction, withdraw notes. So that transactions can be processed quickly, coins must bagged by denomination and in full bags for denominations below a £1 coin, i.e. £10 of 50p or 20p, £5 of 10p or 5p, £1 of 2p or 1p. Post Office doesn’t charge customers for this service, although individual banks may charge.