Bank levy would fund credit union services in Post Offices

Customers could access credit union current accounts, savings accounts and loans

The Government has said a proposed community levy on high-street banks would support the provision of credit union services in Post Offices.

In a response to a consultation on services that should be provided through the Post Office, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills said the proposed levy would help Post Office customers access credit union current accounts, savings accounts and loans.

"In the Budget the Government announced an intention to consult on options to make sure banks make an appropriate contribution to community lenders," the report says. "It will propose using a new community levy to be funded by retail banks to support a link between credit unions and Post Offices."

The report says the Post Office and credit unions are natural delivery partners, and that the Government wants to widen the number of services provided by credit unions through the Post Office.

It says the Government would use the "nationwide reach" of the Post Office to put credit union products within the reach of everyone, rather than residents in a limited number of deprived neighbourhoods.

The Post Office will also create a best practice guide for sub-postmasters to help them develop closer links with credit unions.

Mark Lyonette, chief executive of Abcul, the umbrella body for credit unions, said: "Credit unions are ideally placed to offer fair banking and affordable credit to people on low and modest incomes and a link with the Post Office will bring these services within the grasp of many more people."

He said the link would allow Post Office customers to join credit unions and would also allow existing credit union members to get easier access to their accounts, especially when away from home.

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