The MP for Penrith and the Border has given his support to a campaign seeking to change rules around banking hubs in a bit to protect local banking services.

The number of physical bank branches on Cumbria’s highstreets has been diminishing over the past decade as more and more people rely on online banking.

Penrith has seen a wave of banks announcing their plans to shut their branches for good with Lloyds, Barclays and Halifax all set to close their doors for good this year.

 Dr Hudson has joined 56 MPs in writing to the chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to urge him to change the rules around banking hubs.

Since the passage of the Financial Services and Markets Act (2023), the FCA have become the regulator for LINK, the body responsible for assessing a community’s access to cash needs. LINK can recommend a banking hub or a similar scheme for a particular area.

However, current FCA rules mean LINK are unable to recommend a banking hub until the last bank in town closes, subject to certain exceptions, risking a community’s access to cash.

The FCA are currently consulting on proposed changes to their rules. Among these include changing the “last bank in town” rule to a rule where LINK can intervene when the second-to-last bank in town closes instead.

However, Dr Hudson and his colleagues have urged the FCA to go a step further. The 57 MPs, representing eight different parties in the House of Commons, in a letter led by Conservative MP Julie Marson, have called on Mr Rathi “to grant LINK the ability to operate on a case-by-case basis” and argue that when “the direction of travel is clear… LINK should be able to recommend a banking hub” while “a few branches remain.”

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The MPs argue that such a move would allow staff to be moved over to a banking hub more seamlessly and “ensure that a community is not plunged into a limbo period” where they lose their access to cash.

Commenting, Dr Neil Hudson MP, said: "This common-sense approach to community banking will see consumers able to retain a continuity of services.

"It puts communities in the driving seat, which for areas like ours with closing high street banks and digital connectivity challenges will be a welcome change."