The Post Office is to launch a current account through its network.
Announced today (April 11), the new current account will be trialled in a small number of Post Office branches during spring 2013 before being rolled out on a larger scale in 2014.
According to a Post Office spokeswoman, the current account is not expected to change any existing arrangement with high street banks that can be accessed through the network.
Nick Kennett, director of financial services, said the move was in response to customer demand for “simplicity, transparency and good value for money” following extensive research into the current account market by the Post Office.
“The Post Office is undertaking a significant transformation, providing more and more essential services to our customers across mails, government and financial services,” he said. “The introduction of the current account is a further statement of this ambition. With over 11,500 branches, which is more than all the UK banks combined, we can provide this through the most convenient and accessible retail network in the UK.”
Sue Rendell of Aldbourne Post Office and Stores in Wiltshire was excited about the prospect of offering a current account at her store. “We get a lot of customers asking about setting up accounts and this will be perfect for them,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll be chosen for the trial as it’ll do really well here.”
The announcement was welcomed by the National Federation of SubPostmasters.
General secretary George Thomson said: “There is no doubt that any banking product that allows the public to make more use of the UK’s largest retail network must be welcomed. Post offices sit at the heart of the community and remain a highly trusted brand, and I am sure the Post Office current account will be popular. Furthermore, the new service could deliver vital new income to post offices, many of which are currently struggling to remain financially viable.”
Thomson added the new account could be the first of many banking products available through the network. “However, we believe that the current account should form part of a wider suite of Post Office banking products, including accounts aimed at children; small businesses; and a simple budgeting account to help people on low incomes meet the requirements of the government’s new Universal Credit progamme and to allow them to continue to access state benefits at the Post Office. This option should always remain open to them.”