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MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis comes to Acton to officially open the Banking Hub

Following its soft-launch earlier this month after much waiting and anticipation, Acton’s Banking Hub has now officially been opened (June 15 2023) by Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com.

The Hub, the first ever one for London, provides a shared banking space at The Oaks shopping centre and offers everyday banking for personal customers of most of the major banks and building societies.

Alongside local MP Rupa Huq and Lord Vaizey of Didcot, who helped support the new Hub, Mr Lewis cut the ribbon while also revealing “it’s my first time I’ve ever cut a ribbon”.

Mr Lewis said: “Congratulations to Acton for being the first place in London to have this. As someone who understands that we’re moving to a digital world, the more of us who don’t touch cash, the more important it is that we champion the access for cash for those people who will be left behind, the vulnerable, and those who don’t use the internet.”

He added: “So it’s important to remember for every time you don’t use cash, that’s a moment to click into your head for someone out there who is going to be disenfranchised upon the services that are available to everyone else and you must protect it.”

Also attending the opening was Mayor of Ealing Councillor Hitesh Tailor and London Assembly Member Dr Onkar Sahota as well as representatives from banks taking part in the Banking Hub.

Originally announced in December 2021, the Hub sees banking services once again being made available to Acton residents from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday following the closure of banks including Barclays, HSBC and Santander over recent years.

John Howells, CEO at LINK said: “Cash and face-to-face banking continue to be vital to millions of people across the UK. It’s great to see the Acton hub up and running. The good news is that this is the first in London and we’d expect to see hundreds open across the country over the next few 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 offers a counter service operated by the Post Office and customers of the major banks and building societies will be able to carry out regular cash transactions from Monday to Friday.

The Hub also offers 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.

Gareth Oakley, CEO, Cash Access UK: “Banking Hubs such as the one opening in Acton are important for millions of people in these financially challenging times. These Hubs are having a positive impact on local communities – from the counter service to the knowledge and support of the Community Bankers. With the opening of the Acton Banking Hub, we will continue to support local people and businesses with cash services.”

Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton: “I’m sure this banking facility will prove invaluable to the residents of Acton, including the many (often elderly) who are not online or even those of all ages who prefer the personal touch. We are proud to have the first ever of these in an urban area and I can see it being a positive model widely rolled out.”

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.

Are you an Ealing resident with a story to share? Or spotted something we should know about?
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