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UK Moves to Sustain Cash

The UK is facing significant pressure on its cash infrastructure, sufficient to put access to cash on the political agenda. 2021 draws to a close with a major announcement that some of the largest UK banks will create a network of shared banking hubs to maintain cash facilities for communities where cash services have ended.

Bank Branch - December 21, 2021 midnight

News in Brief

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has gone public encouraging people to use coins and to return them into the cash cycle. After the coin hiatus last year, which saw the formation of the Coin Taskforce and limits on the issue of coins to retailers and institutions, the situation had eased with the limits lifted and normal service resuming.

News - August 25, 2021 midnight

Digital Payments - and the Last Mile to the Unbanked

The Federal Reserve Board (FRB) of Atlanta has published an article by Oz Shy, ‘Digital Currency, Digital Payments, and the ‘last mile’ to the unbanked.’ As the number of cashless locations increases, the article considers what stops people going digital and looks at policy options in response.

Cash Usage - August 11, 2021 midnight

Payment News

In 2015 Russia set up a national payments card network called Mir. It was set up with government backing after MasterCard and Visa cut off services to a number of the country’s banks following the annexation of the Crimea.

News - June 2, 2021 midnight

Access to Cash Pilots Pick Up Speed in the UK

The UK’s Post Office is not a bank and does not aspire to be one. However, it does provide essential cash services on behalf of all banks to all communities left behind when banks close. The banks still have a duty to be available for more complex products – typically now served through call centres, or video calls.

Bank Branch - May 19, 2021 midnight

News in Brief

Deutsche Bank has announced that it will close 150 bank and Postbank branches this year and a further 50 Postbank branches next year. The CEO said that customers are coming to branches less often, preferring to use digital products such as remote advisory video sessions. In January Commerzbank announced it would close 340 branches in Germany.

News - May 19, 2021 midnight

The Importance of Trust

Digital is hard. Digital is remote. Money matters and financial matters are not trivial. Are banks sure, therefore, that widespread branch closures are wise?

Mobile Payments - May 19, 2021 midnight

News in Brief

One of the parts of the cash cycle most affected by the pandemic has been coins. The normal flow has been seriously disrupted as people have switched to card payments or have rounded cash payments to use notes in preference to coins. In February 2020 there were almost £3 million worth of 2p coins held in wholesale cash centres, but demand has continued to outstrip supply almost every week, and in the past twelve months over £2.2 million in new 2p coins have been issued into circulation but never returned. Where are they all and why aren’t the pennies behaving the same?

News - April 28, 2021 midnight

Branch ‘Deserts’ a Myth in the US

The Banking Journal of the American Bankers Association (ABA) published an article ‘The Real Story On Bank Branch Closures’, about the decline in bank branches in the US. It was responding to a story in NPR that painted a picture of bank closures leaving whole communities devoid of bank branches, particularly in lower-income, rural and at-risk communities.

Bank Branch - April 28, 2021 midnight

Digital Financial Inclusion

Financial inclusion is a hot topic as the move to online and mobile banking leads to fewer bank branches. When banks announce closure plans they quote how many customers now interact over the phone, internet or smartphone and the number of people registering new mobile phone apps (in the case of HSBC, 90% and 750,000 respectively in the last 12 months).

Bank Branch - April 28, 2021 midnight