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A new blueprint to restore cash to UK towns and high streets is being piloted, offering hope to millions of banking customers impacted by the damaging legacy of years of bank branch closures.
In collaboration with shared bank branch innovator, OneBanx, we are providing access to their multi-bank kiosk in two of our branches, Gosforth and Knaresborough, as part of a ground-breaking pilot aiming to keep cash alive and high streets vibrant in local communities.
The kiosks use Open Banking technology to allow small businesses and personal customers of any bank in the Open Banking network to withdraw and deposit cash from their accounts, and are the first to be located within the branch of a financial services provider anywhere in the world.
Our Knaresborough Branch opened in the town library in 2022, in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council. The branch has restored the everyday convenience of face-to-face financial services in Knaresborough after the town lost its last bank branch in 2021, and has been warmly welcomed by the local community.
A second kiosk is being piloted in our Gosforth Branch, in Newcastle upon Tyne. Gosforth High Street has seen several major bank branches close over recent years, with more closures planned for 2023, despite concerns voiced by local businesses and residents.
Backed by global leaders in cash automation GLORY, OneBanx developed the kiosk to support communities without access to everyday banking. The pilot is the first collaboration with a financial services provider to allow users access to their accounts, whichever bank they use.
Under the pilot, users of the kiosk will be able to deposit notes and coins, and withdraw cash from their bank account. Personal and small business customers of any bank on the Open Banking network will be able to access their UK account, provided they have online banking access and have registered for the OneBanx service.
Our Gosforth and Knaresborough branch colleagues will be on hand to provide customers with information on the registration process so people can use the kiosk independently.
Andrew Haigh, chief executive officer at Newcastle Building Society, said: “Since January 2015, banks have announced the closure of more than 5,000 branches across the UK, but Newcastle Building Society remains absolutely committed to providing accessible face-to-face financial services in our communities. Our blueprint for a cost effective branch model, which combines communities, technology and partnership is an approach that has been forged in the North East – but is potentially applicable to every high street.
“We think it’s more important than ever to offer people the opportunity to transact locally and access cash. Many businesses still take cash and have to travel miles to deposit it when the last bank has left town - meaning extra cost, time and loss of income. Many people also find they can budget better by paying for everyday items using cash. The current cost of living challenges have only served to reinforce this.
"The investment we’re making in our branch network has supported us in growing our physical presence through a unique collaborative approach, making use of shared spaces to establish a cost effective branch model and help support a sustainable future for those public facilities."
“By piloting multi-bank kiosks in our Knaresborough and Gosforth branches, we hope to find a solution that could present a blueprint for cashless communities across the UK to follow. Cash is a vital part of daily life for millions of people and businesses and every bank branch closure leaves a damaging legacy in our communities.
“The kiosk provides people with convenient access to their bank and by providing access to technology like this in our innovative branch model, we’re showing exactly what can be achieved when we put the interests of our members and customers above everything else.”