20th Aug, 2019

Alcester residents urge Barclays to reconsider scrapping branch

Ross Crawford 10th Feb, 2019

DISMAYED residents in Alcester are urging bosses to reconsider scrapping the town’s Barclays Bank.

The branch is among a number which has closed on high streets across the UK as customers increasingly turn to online or telephone banking.

Barclays figures revealed over the past two years, 77 per cent of branch customers now used alternative banking methods and just over 100 people used the branch exclusively.

But town mayor Andrew Foster insisted the bank was still well-used by townsfolk.

He said: “I have taken the opportunity to look at some of its own figures and which personally I do not think add up.

“We know more people are turning to online banking but figures show 23 per cent of customers do not do their banking anywhere else other than through the Alcester branch of Barclays Bank.

“We have seen what has happened in Studley and Henley where the banks have closed and yes, Barclays has made its decision but I do think we as a town council and as a community should ask them to reconsider, and that’s what we intend to do.”

While residents can still use Lloyds or the post office to bank, Coun Foster said accessibility remained a problem for those with mobility issues – unlike in the Barclays branch.

He added if Barclays stuck by its decision he would be asking it to retain the cash machine with a paying-in facility to help local traders.

Chair of Alcester Chamber of Trade and Commerce Sarah Bassett added: “High street banks draw footfall and provide critical services to high street businesses – it is important the banks seek to find ways to remain relevant and differentiated from the online-only competitors by enhancing their local presence and supporting the communities they serve.

“The retreat of Barclays from Alcester High Street, a thriving market town that also serves a wide rural demographic, is a prime example of such an opportunity missed and I passionately urge them to reconsider.”

Barclays spokesman Chris Payne defended the decision. He said: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices.

“We hope that the availability of our Barclays branch at Market Cross in Stratford, as well as access to services at the local post office along with our range of digital channels, will help to ease the transition for our customers.”

The bank is expected to close in May.

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