Post Office creates bank to see off closure threat

Post Office Counters is looking for a marketer to head a new banking division created to help prevent the closure of about 30 per cent of its 19,000 branches.

The move comes as a Treasury report into financial exclusion, released this week, advises the Government to examine how the Post Office network can be used to give customers greater access to financial services.

The new Post Office position, head of marketing communications and brand management, will report to Sue Huggins, head of commercial retail sales strategy at Post Office Counters.

The successful candidate will develop the Post Office’s position as a financial services provider through marketing and by signing deals with high-street banks to house concessions. Many Post Offices already house sub-branches of Lloyds TSB, Abbey National and the Co-operative Bank in addition to Girobank.

A Government white paper proposing to pay all state benefits automatically to recipients through personal bank accounts by 2003 will bypass the Post Office and could lead to the closure of about one third of its branches, according to the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters.

Rural Post Offices are keen to make up the business they have lost by positioning themselves as banking service providers as the traditional banks desert quiet, un- profitable locations.

Post Office Counters offers a range of travel, lottery, bill payment, pensions and insurance, and savings and investments products and services through the brands it sells.

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