Bank of Eng­land shuts per­sonal bank­ing unit

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

LON­DON: The Bank of Eng­land (BoE) is in the process of clos­ing its per­sonal bank­ing ser­vices - used by thou­sands of its staff and pen­sion­ers - fol­low­ing a four-month con­sul­ta­tion process. Al­though the con­sul­ta­tion had pre­vi­ously been high­lighted, no an­nounce­ment was made about the ul­ti­mate de­ci­sion to shut the op­er­a­tion.

The de­ci­sion to close the ser­vice is un­likely to cause the de­gree of con­ster­na­tion trig­gered by high street banks' fre­quent aban­don­ment of retail branches, how­ever: the BoE's two cash ma­chines op­er­ate from just a sin­gle out­let - its Thread­nee­dle Street home in the City - and have fewer than 4,000 cus­tomers.

BoE in­sid­ers said the ser­vice had al­ready been closed to new cus­tomers for some time, and that ex­ist­ing clients had been in­formed about the move last Novem­ber.

Cus­tomers have been given un­til next month to make al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ments for their bank­ing ser­vices, a source added.

In a state­ment is­sued to Sky News, a BoE spokesman con­firmed the move: "Af­ter a full con­sul­ta­tion process with its cus­tomers, the Bank has de­cided to end its Per­sonal Bank­ing Ser­vice. "This fol­lows the Bank's with­drawal from pro­vid­ing retail bank­ing ser­vices to govern­ment de­part­ments and other cor­po­rate cus­tomers."

Cus­tomers of the BoE's per­sonal bank­ing arm were ini­tially in­formed as long ago as 2004 that the ser­vice was at risk of clo­sure be­cause it was not cen­tral to its core mis­sion.

"Bank­ing ser­vices such as those of­fered by on­line lenders far out­strip those of­fered by the Bank and the gap would only widen fur­ther over time," the in­sider said.

Since then, the bank­ing cri­sis and its af­ter­math - and a change of Gov­er­nor - have dom­i­nated the BoE's agenda, while its ab­sorp­tion in 2013 of some of the du­ties held by the Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Au­thor­ity left it re­spon­si­ble for reg­u­lat­ing large ar­eas of the bank­ing in­dus­try.

Last month, An­drew Bai­ley, head of the BoE's Pru­den­tial Regulation Au­thor­ity, over­saw the launch of a start-up unit aimed at as­sist­ing new banks con­tem­plat­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for au­tho­ri­sa­tion from reg­u­la­tors.-

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