A lifeline is being extended to residents after it was announced a 'banking hub' would be opened in their town.

Axminster has been announced as one of the UK locations for the new hubs as part of a longer term vision for cash access on the high street.

It comes after Lloyds Bank said it would be closing its Axminster branch in November - the town's last remaining bank.

A banking hub is a shared service that operates in a similar way to a standard bank branch. It has a counter service run by Post Office staff where customers of almost any bank can withdraw and deposit cash, make bill payments and carry out regular transactions. There are private spaces where customers can speak to someone from their own bank for advice and support about more complex issues. Each of the banks provide staff on rotation, so there are trained specialists from different banks available on different days.

The Cash Action Group and LINK say that the first hubs were piloted last year in Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire and Rochford, Essex, and have proved extremely popular, with usage more than doubling since they’ve opened.

They say that as the impact of the cost-of-living crisis becomes increasingly apparent, the hubs are likely to become an ever more important resource, particularly in communities with minimal or limited cash access or banking facilities.

Natalie Ceeney CBE, Chair of the Cash Action Group: “Cash still matters hugely to millions of people across the UK and with the cost-of-living crisis biting, more and more people are turning to cash as a way of budgeting effectively.

“Banking hubs are an important part of the solution, providing cash withdrawal, deposit and banking services for the customers of almost any bank, and designed for towns which are too small to sustain multiple bank branches each only serving part of the community. The two banking hubs that have been open since 2021 are growing in popularity and use month on month, supporting consumers and small businesses, and helping their communities thrive.

“Ten more hubs are in the process of being designed and built, and this announcement takes the total planned to 25 hubs. But this is only the start. The hub network will expand significantly to meet the demand of communities across the UK. I would expect us to be supporting hundreds of communities within a few years.”