News story

Government puts spotlight on access to banking services for customers at industry meeting

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Economic Secretary meets with senior bank executives to discuss widening access to banking services for customers.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Andrea Leadsom, today met with senior executives from Britain’s banks and building societies to discuss widening access to banking services for customers across the country.

The meeting discussed the changing nature of banking, including the move towards increased mobile and internet banking, and how to ensure that industry responds to those demands while making sure that it caters for customers who still need to have access to a bank branch.

Part of the government’s long term economic plan is to ensure that banks serve all sections of society. This includes more vulnerable customers, and people who find themselves in financial emergencies, so that they don’t feel compelled to turn to exploitative or illegal lenders for finance.

This roundtable follows action that the government has already taken to ensure that customers have access to the right products, including legislation to allow banks to introduce cheque imaging. While customers will continue to be able to deposit cheques at branches, cash machines, Post Offices or by post, the option to pay in cheques remotely by smartphone or other mobile devices will increase choice and convenience for customers who currently experience barriers to financial inclusion, such as those in rural areas or with limited mobility.

And a new Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) will have strong powers to drive innovation in the payments sector from April next year. This will build on the industry innovation that we have already seen in mobile payments, with apps such as Paym and Pingit revolutionising person to person payments.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury Andrea Leadsom said:

A key part of our long term economic plan is to build a banking sector that serves all sections of society.

That’s why I am delighted to have started a conversation today with key players in our banking industry to explore what more we can do to make sure that customers, wherever they live, have access to the banking services they need.