The Impact of Bank Closures

The world is changing – and things that we used to do in ‘real life’ are now often done on the internet – like shopping and banking – but what difference does a loss of the high street bank make?

Well to an ordinary member of the public who is internet savvy probably not much. You can get your cash from a cash-point or at the supermarket checkout and check your balance online and even on a phone. Older people who aren’t internet savvy will obviously struggle with the closures, and unfortunately the elderly will probably be the hardest hit.

Local Bank Closures

However, as accountants and business advisors, we’re concerned with the impact of the closure of high street banks on your business – especially following the announcement that NatWest in Fleetwood, Yorkshire Bank and Yorkshire Building Society in Cleveleys and HSBC in Blackpool and Lytham are all set to close at various points during 2017.

So what can you do?

Use the internet. If you haven’t already done so, sign up for online banking. It sounds obvious, but fears of internet safety might have put you off, or structural protocols regarding who in the organisation has access to the business account. These are all issues which can be solved – don’t forget it you need any specialist advice about IT or organisational management, we can link you up with our network of trusted professionals.

Ask customers to pay by BACS. Where you are trading with other businesses, request that they pay you by bank transfer. That way you reduce the number of cheques which your business receives and therefore the number of trips to a bank branch.

Cash Banking. This is a more difficult one. If you’re the owner of a retail business or your customers pay you in cash, you’ve not got much choice about paying it into the bank.

It might be time to invest in a good safe and a good cash-in-transit bag so that you make fewer trips to the bank with more money. Could you also recruit the assistance of a strong person to accompany you and act as a bodyguard?! Joking apart, you should always be careful about carrying cash to a bank and consider the safety of your employees in this circumstance. If you trade in large amounts of cash it might be worth considering a cash transit service.

Or, if you do have a high cash turnover, you might consider using it in different ways, for example making payments with it, or you could even look at a scheme to put a cash machine in your shop or public place, in which case the cash from your shop would be used to fill it.

Using other banks. For a member of the public, swapping banks might be a good short term solution to a branch closure – but for a business it’s just not that simple.

You could, however, use the services of the local Post Office – there’s still one in most towns. The Post Office website states that “You can access your high street bank account at one of our 11,500 branches.” You can withdraw and deposit from the counter or cash machine free of charge. More information about Post Office branch banking services here

Don’t forget, if you’d like our opinion or advice on any of these areas, you’re always very welcome to get in touch with us here at Jones Harris for a no-obligation chat.

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