LINK: Four new banking hubs recommended in Northern Ireland
and live on Freeview channel 276
LINK, the UK’s cash access and ATM network, has confirmed four new banking hubs will open in Northern Ireland.
Comber (Down), Newcastle (Down), Portrush (Antrim) and Warrenpoint (Down) have all been recommended new hubs following community requests from the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland (CCNI). CCNI worked in partnership with LINK to ensure local conditions were fully considered and that the national criteria were applied correctly to Northern Ireland.
In 2021, the banking industry agreed that following the closure of any bank branch, LINK will identify whether a community requires further cash services. Additionally, any community without a branch can contact LINK directly and ask to be assessed for support.
To date, LINK has recommended 94 banking hubs across the UK including one in Kilkeel (Down), which is set to open in December. Ten hubs are already up and running across the rest of the country.
Banking hubs are a shared banking space, similar to a traditional bank branch, but available to everyone. The hub will consist of a counter service operated by Post Office employees, where customers of any bank can withdraw and deposit cash, make bill payments and carry out regular banking transactions. In addition, there will be private spaces where customers can speak to community bankers from their own bank for more complicated matters that require specialist knowledge or privacy. The banks will be working on a rotating basis, so there will be staff from different banks available on different days.
The banking hubs will now be delivered by Cash Access UK. Over the next few weeks, it will begin to engage with the local communities and to start looking for potential sites. They are likely to open in 2024.
Nick Quin, head of financial inclusion, LINK, said: “More people are choosing to bank and pay for things digitally; however, cash and face-to-face banking remains vital for millions of people. We’re pleased to be recommending these new hubs across Northern Ireland. They will make a difference for customers and mean people won’t need to travel to do everyday transactions. If any community believes it needs additional services such as a cash machine or banking hub, they can contact LINK directly and we can assess their local community to see if we can help.”
Scott Kennerley, director of consumer empowerment, Consumer Council Northern Ireland, explained: “We are delighted that LINK is recommending these new banking hubs across Northern Ireland. We know from our research that many consumers here prefer to use cash and are still reliant on having access to a bank branch. We have worked closely with LINK to highlight the needs of consumers in Northern Ireland so to get this result for consumers is a great development.”