Commercial focus: Banking update from Martin Kearsley
Hello everyone. I hope that you’ve been able to enjoy some of the glorious weather we’re having, particularly with it following such a wet and unsettled May. Despite a positive flightpath out of lockdown - with over three quarters of UK adults now vaccinated with the first jab - you will know from the government announcement last week on tighter rules for foreign holidays, that the travel market remains unpredictable. We continue to press on with preparations however, so that we’re ready for customers when the time comes, including reinstating travel money at branches that had services paused with HMRC last year. Look out for more information in Nick’s blog.
This month I’d like to update you with the latest on our ATM strategy, the launch of our ‘Save Our Cash’ campaign, and our banking numbers for May.
Post Office ATM Strategy
In October 2020, we announced our ATM strategy and plans to save as many ATMs as possible in response to Bank of Ireland’s decision to withdraw ATMs from our network. We will initially take over Bank of Ireland ATMs; then between early 2022 and mid-2023, we will purchase brand new ATMs and replace the current estate.
We recently wrote to Postmasters with ATMs selected to be saved and refreshed as a part of our future ATM service, to outline next steps for the implementation of our new strategy. This week, Postmasters will receive a further communication detailing the variety of ways we are helping and investing in new equipment to help, and providing details of the new fee structure and terms and conditions.
We will also publish frequently asked questions on our ATM microsite and will be sharing details of a dedicated Postmaster forum next week, where we will talk through the new proposition in more detail. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the ATM at your branch, please contact your Area Manager or submit your question online using this link.
Save Our Cash
Last month I talked about our upcoming Save Our Cash campaign, which follows on from the great work being carried out through our involvement in the Community Access to Cash Pilots. The campaign, which formally launched earlier this week, calls on government and industry to work together to ‘Save Our Cash’.
Eight million adults have said they would struggle day-to-day without cash, with 1.4 million people not having a bank account and relying on cash to survive. However, access to cash is rapidly declining with widespread bank branch closures across the country.
The campaign tells the stories of everyday people and businesses that rely on cash the most, demonstrating why a legal obligation must now be placed on banks to provide access to cash free at the point of service for both consumers and businesses.
We will be gearing up to a ‘Save Our Cash’ day in July and sharing the various ways in which you can get involved in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I encourage you watch our video demonstrating how cash acts as a connection between communities and highlighting the businesses and people that still need and use cash daily. You can read more about Save Our Cash on One or visit the dedicated website at www.saveourcash.co.uk
The latest data from our May Cash Tracker shows overall cash deposits and withdrawals increased month-on-month, highlighting that despite one of the wettest Mays on record, cash use continues to recover as non-essential retailers had their first full month of trading since last year.
Business cash deposits totalled £824 million, up 7.2% month-on-month, whilst overall cash deposits and withdrawals at Post Offices in May amounted to £2.49 billion. This compares with £2.45 billion in April and £2.44 billion in March.
Personal cash deposits topped a billion pounds for the third month in a row, demonstrating how important it is that both individuals and businesses have somewhere local where they can deposit their cash.
You can find the full Post Office Cash Tracker for May here.
Thank you for your continued hard work in supporting customers with their cash needs. If you have any questions or suggestions, please submit a comment below and I will provide an update in my next blog.