The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published guidance to ensure that firms treat their customers fairly when closing a branch or ATM.
The guidance sets out the FCA’s expectations for banks, building societies and credit unions when considering the closure of branches or ATMs, including the expectation of clear communication with customers of how else banking services can be accessed, and putting in place alternative access arrangements where possible.
Examples of alternative access arrangements could include:
The guidance also applies to access to ATMs where they may be converted from free-to-use to pay-to-use.
The FCA has made it clear that firms should inform the authority at an early stage of any plans to close or convert branches or ATMs and continue to engage throughout the process.
Sheldon Mills, interim executive director of strategy and competition at the watchdog, said: “Access to cash is a priority for the FCA. We’ve published this guidance to remind firms of our expectations, which firms need to take account of throughout their decision-making process on the future of their branches or ATMs.”