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Banks urged to rethink approaches to branch and ATM closure

Mark Aldred, Banking Specialist with software provider Auriga

As UK consumer rights charity Which? increases pressure on banks to protect access to cash as a payment option for consumers and small businesses, demanding a regulatory intervention on the matter, banks must learn to rethink their approach, a leading banking software executive has urged.
“Talk of the death of cash is much exaggerated and the Which? campaign puts focus on how access to cash remains a vital service in our communities,” said Mark Aldred, Banking Specialist with software provider Auriga. “In their defence banks are pointing to changes in customer behaviour including more online banking and contactless payments as the reasons for culling of branch and ATM networks. However, historically this does not bear close analysis, and these decisions are in fact more profit led.”
But Aldred said that transformation need not necessarily mean the loss of banking services: “Modern digital self-service banking can be efficient to run and offer a richer array of services that can generate revenues and help to pay to keep ATMs in remote locations,” he commented. “We already see how banks in other European countries like Italy and Portugal are investing in their branch networks with digital in-branch banking hubs and a reconfiguration of branch spaces to offer more not less local services. In some cases, branch banks are even opening up spaces for community use. Whether a regulator is needed is another matter but it is clear that consumers need more than just online or mobile banking as their sole channels to access banking services.”

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