Branch Manager Heather Pearman in Knaresborough branch OP
Branch Manager Heather Pearman in Knaresborough branch OP

Newcastle Building Society pilots cash lifeline in Knaresborough

18 January 2023

Newcastle Building Society is piloting a multi-bank kiosk in its branch in Knaresborough, as part of a UK-first project aiming to address the damaging impact of bank branch closures and to help keep cash flowing in the town.

The Society is collaborating with OneBanx to provide access to a kiosk which uses Open Banking technology to allow small businesses and personal customers of any bank on the open banking network to withdraw and deposit cash from their accounts.

The kiosk is located within the Society’s branch inside Knaresborough library, which opened last year through a partnership with North Yorkshire County Council, restoring the everyday convenience of face-to-face financial services to the town after the last bank branch closed in 2021. The kiosk will act as a lifeline to the wide range of businesses and traders in the town who continue to rely on access to cash.

Under the pilot, users of the kiosk will be able to deposit notes and coins, and withdraw cash from their bank account. Personal and small business customers of any bank on the Open Banking network will be able to access their UK account, provided they have online banking access and have registered for the OneBanx service.

Newcastle Building Society branch colleagues will be on hand to provide customers with information on the registration process so people can use the kiosk independently.

Andrew Haigh, chief executive officer at Newcastle Building Society, said:

Since January 2015, banks have announced the closure of more than 5,000 branches across the UK, but Newcastle Building Society remains absolutely committed to providing accessible face-to-face financial services in our communities. Our blueprint for a cost effective branch model, which combines communities, technology and partnership is an approach that has been forged in the north east – but is potentially applicable to every high street.

We think it’s more important than ever to offer people the opportunity to transact locally and access cash. Many businesses still take cash and have to travel miles to deposit it when the last bank has left town – meaning extra cost, time and loss of income. Many people also find they can budget better by paying for everyday items using cash. The current cost of living challenges have only served to reinforce this.

The investment we’re making in our branch network has supported us in growing our physical presence through a unique collaborative approach, making use of shared spaces to establish a cost effective branch model and help support a sustainable future for those public facilities.

By piloting multi-bank kiosks in our Knaresborough and Gosforth branches, we hope to find a solution that could present a blueprint for cashless communities across the UK to follow. Cash is a vital part of daily life for millions of people and businesses and every bank branch closure leaves a damaging legacy in our communities.

The kiosk provides people with convenient access to their bank and by providing access to technology like this in our innovative branch model, we’re showing exactly what can be achieved when we put the interests of our members and customers above everything else.

A further kiosk is also being piloted in the Society’s branch on Gosforth High Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, after several major bank branches closed over recent years despite concerns voiced by local businesses and residents.

Nathan Francey, store manager of The Music Bank, Knaresborough, said:

It’s fantastic to have the Newcastle Building Society branch in the library, it’s really convenient and the staff are so friendly. Hearing that customers and businesses will have access to cash withdrawal and deposit is such a great boost for the town. The kiosk was straightforward to use and access, it will save us so much time and effort travelling to Harrogate to our nearest bank branch, so as a business we will definitely be using the machine going forward.”

North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for libraries, Cllr Greg White, said: “The new OneBanx kiosk in Knaresborough library is a welcome addition to the services available at Newcastle Building Society’s branch. The branch is catering for local residents and businesses who can no longer access financial facilities in the town.

Its presence is encouraging more people through the doors and has seen the multi-purposing of an already well-used building.

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