Post offices have long been a part of the British heritage, but they offer much more than stamps, including a branch banking system that's designed to bring local banking back into smaller communities. With over 11,500 branches, they offer a fast and convenient banking solution, particularly to those without personal transport.
Whilst not being incorporated as a bank or financial institution in their own right, they have partnerships with many other banks and building societies, allowing them to offer a wide range of financial services over the counter. Since 2013 they have been trialling a Post Office current account, although this is backed by Bank of Ireland (UK) PLC, rather than administered independently by the Post Office.
The branch banking services that the Post Office offer vary depending upon the bank or financial institution that an individual uses. A large number of such institutions have agreements in place with the Post Office, to provide added value and convenience to their customers.
Further details are available on their website, or information can be obtained in store. The history of the organisation itself goes back to the time of Charles II, who established the GPO in 1660. Its banking roots also go back a long way. The first GPO savings bank was created in 1861, to provide savings facilities to people who didn't have access to major towns that were home to the banks of the time. This continued until 1969, when the savings bank was transferred to the control of the Treasury, and renamed National Savings.
Today, the Post Office not only offer saving and cash withdrawal facilities, they also offer personal loans for amounts between £2,000 and £25,000. These are again offered in conjunction with Bank of Ireland, as is their credit card. One benefit that their credit card brings is that it can be used to buy foreign currency at any of their branches, without incurring a cash fee.