We all lament the closures of a local bank, but this affects the millions of small businesses in the country far more than anyone else.
They have few staff and someone leaving the office or shop to do the banking is fine if it’s for 10 mins, but when it’s an hour or two because they have to drive the nearest bank (which in some rural areas the bank can be 30 or 40 mins away) it places a huge burden on everyone.
Local businesses are the lifeblood of many towns, hamlets and villages, but they are all being driven to extinction by the lack of banks.
But Ashburton Post Office, has recently been part of a very important trial taking part nationally within the Post Office to try and help this issue.
Ashburton Post Office now offers over 99% of all its consumers access to their bank accounts so they can take out money.
Nationally the Post Office group can now serve 75% of all small businesses around the UK, which will grow to 95% when Lloyds joins the scheme in October. The remaining small percentage will join over the coming year so the Post Office should be able to serve almost anyone with their daily cash needs.
Stuart Rogers FSB Member and owner of Ashburton Post Office said: "Ashburton Post Office also offers a business deposit service. Nationally the Post Office are working with all the banks to modernise the services so they can all be done using bank cards for account access, PiN protected.
"PiN access is superb. It reduces the time taken in our branch because we've removed all the cumbersome old paper, so our local small businesses can get back to work faster."
Post Offices across the UK have increased opening by 400,000 hours each week, so they are open evenings and weekends, this means businesses can work a full day and still bank their takings locally on the way home. No more closing early to get to the bank (no need for an employee to nip out to do banking).
Nationally the Post Office have plans to transmit transactions from paying-in slips to make funds clear more quickly.
As part of the trail Ashburton Post Office is planning to take on the cash side of banking so that people can access change. Change giving service is not now offered by all high street banks, meaning businesses having to incur cost and time to get the change to run their shops.
Ashburton Post Office will introduce both these new services (change giving and deferred checking) to businesses later this summer.
Nationally the Post Office is working with all banks in partnership to raise awareness of these new services, so that if a bank branch is closing the local community will know that the post office will offer some solutions.
The Post Office is also looking to expand the services to non-UK card schemes, thus ensuring that visitors, tourists, students and guests can access cash easily, thus feeding local economies that rely on seasonal business and tourism.
This is a real solution for businesses and especially business in Devon. It means that business support is still there in the community. FSB Devon are delighted that businesses can now grow in Ashburton without the burden of bank closure access affecting their decisions.