Bank of England shuts personal banking unit
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.-