It is very much the case that the majority of bank users now access their accounts online, through apps or over the phone. This means that demand for high street premises has dropped.
However, I am very conscious that not all are online, particularly the older generations. Some of us (myself included!) prefer face to face service for private banking matters and for individuals with disabilities, having access to a human is incredibly important.
Additionally, if something does go wrong online - those banking always need to verify their identify, nobody wants to travel to the next city or a few towns away in order to verify. Businesses, especially small businesses need to access cash and coins, small charities often need a place they can submit their collections and locals who work cash in hand need a place to bank their money.
For these reasons and more it is important that we maintain access to high street banks.
With the talk of Barclay's Bank on St Editha's Square closing - a surprise when there's often a queue outside the venue, I have taken steps to engage with all our local banks to encourage them to commit to Tamworth and maintain a high street presence.
I have also been in contact with the Treasury to see what more can be done to protect over the counter services. The recent Financial Services and Markets Bill ensures the continued availability of withdrawal and deposit facilities across the country and such measures are allowing banks to work with companies like the Post Office to maintain a form of counter service but it still remains important that you can speak with your bank manager if you wish to do so.
Ideas being explored currently involve banking hubs, shared spaces and making banking a key area for the High Street Taskforce to investigate. I hope this work will lead to securing the future for more high street banks, whilst embracing newer and more technology oriented banks to start up a presence on the high street link Metro, Monzo and Chase.