The banking industry has committed to identifying more than 200 sites for banking hubs across Britain, with Harpenden currently suffering from a "Nationwide block".

Last Monday (March 21) High street banks committed to funding 225 hubs across the country, due to a falling number of individual bank branches.

Banking hubs allow customers of any bank to use their normal banking services at a single location.

Bim Afolami, the city minister and Hitchin & Harpenden MP, convened a group of industry stakeholders and MPs last Monday to discuss improvements to existing hubs across the country.

At the time, the banks pledged to identify 225 sites for new banking hubs.

Despite Nationwide being a building society, its presence at 20 High Street means that, at this time, a "Nationwide block" is in place for Harpenden's bid for a banking hub in the town.

Nationwide announced last Thursday (March 21) that all of its branches will remain open until at least 2028.

The last official bank in Harpenden closed in September last year (2023), when Barclays shut on Harpenden High Street.

Halifax, Santander, HSBC, NatWest and Lloyds have closed in recent years.

Herts Advertiser: Bim Afolami MP convened a group last Monday, to discuss banking hubs in the UK.Bim Afolami MP convened a group last Monday, to discuss banking hubs in the UK. (Image: Bim Afolami, MP)

In June 2023, LINK, the organisation responsible for recommending whether towns should receive a banking hub recommended that the town receive a deposit-only service instead.

Along with Nationwide, Harpenden is currently served by Harpenden Building Society and a Barclays Local service at Harpenden Methodist Church on Tuesday and Friday mornings.

Bim Afolami MP said this week: "I know how important access to banking services is.

"Last month I visited a banking hub in Cumbria to see first hand the important work they do.


"This week I convened a meeting between the industry and MPs to discuss the roll-out of banking hubs.

"We’ve been working in Parliament to expand the number of banking hubs all over the country.

"That’s why it is fantastic news that the industry has committed to identifying more than 200 new banking hubs."