By John Smith • 28 January 2021 • 17:29
Banks asked to keep branches open
THE Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned UK banks not to close branches if doing so would harm vulnerable customers during the Covid-19 lockdown.
In September 2020, it published guidance on branch and cash machine closures and was designed to protect consumers by setting expectation that firms should assess customer needs and consider the availability and provision of alternative arrangements where closures or conversions are planned.
It requires firms to treat their customers fairly and communicate with them in a fair, clear and not misleading way with the expectation that banks exercise particular care with vulnerable customers.
In January 2021, the Government and devolved authorities announced new restrictions across the UK due to Covid-19 but some banks and building societies have said that they are either going ahead with branch closures already announced, or announcing new branch closures during the current lockdown.
The FCA is concerned that these activities could have significant consequences for customers. It may be harder than usual to reach all customers under the current restrictions and engage with them on closure proposals effectively (for example, small businesses that are temporarily closed).
They advise banks to delay any closures for the time being.
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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.
Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.
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