Rochford BankHUB: Essex’s new bank offers community ‘lifeline’ after residents see services disappear
A brand new Essex BankHUB has proven to be a “lifeline” for the local community after locals saw services disappear.
Rochford residents found themselves without any nearby banking services in the city for four years and as a result the community struggled to do their banking face to face.
Fortunately, a brand new trial service, BankHUB, was launched in the region, providing the community with the “lifeline” and “convenience” they needed.
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The BankHUB is operated by mail and includes teller services, ATMs, and the ability to deposit money as part of a trial that gives people access to banking needs.
The trials are part of a project to ensure people and businesses have access to cash and provide the local community with a physical place to do their banking after bank closures hit many regions.
In Rochford, for example, the local community lost its last bank, a Barclays branch in 2017. Since then, residents have had to travel to Southend or nearby towns to do their banking face-to-face.
This has been particularly difficult for some members of the community, such as the elderly, who do not have the amenities to bank online or are unable to move around in neighboring areas.
However, communities have been given the Rochford BankHUB ‘lifeline’ in a trial that has been incredibly successful so far.
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After successful trials in Essex and Scotland, the program will be extended for another two years until April 2023.
So how does the BankHUB work?
A different bank comes to the hub once a week to help with transactions where customers need a member of the business to help in person.
The hub, which is located in West Street, Rochford, is open Monday through Friday, and every day a different big brand is represented;
Monday – NatWest
Tuesday – Lloyds
Wednesday – Santander
Thursday – Barclays
Friday – HSBC
Throughout the week, counter service and machines allow individuals and small business owners to access accounts, withdraw and deposit bills and coins. However, the bank also offers services from other banks every day.
Rochford BankHUB Postmaster Richard Fleetwood said: “We have had some fantastic stories from the local community. It can be something as simple as a convenience – the bank is on their doorstep.
“Or it could be something like a customer saying he has £ 10 to pay but has to travel to Southend to drop him off but he has to pay for parking or his bus ticket which could cost £ 5. for example just for the customer to pay £ 10 to his bank.
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“The BankHUB has made things a lot more convenient for people. I think he made banking more accessible to people.
“I don’t think it’s only when you get involved in a project that you appreciate the difficulties people have in accessing cash and banking services. People have been so positive about BankHUB and grateful too.
“It’s one of those things where access to money [with bank closures], you don’t know what you have until he’s gone.
“And unfortunately communities like Rochford went through this process. We were overwhelmed by the response we got from community members, they just thanked us for being here.”
Mr Fleetwood added that it might also be possible to introduce more partner banks if there is a community demand for them and delighted the community for their support.
He continued, “I would love to see BankHUBS on every main street in the country. I think they could be fantastic mainstreet support for local communities and small businesses.
“Thanks to everyone who used BankHUB. It is because of your support and use of us that has proven that there is a need and a demand for a service like this. “
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