Bank plans to axe town centre branch despite admitting customers find it 'convenient'

·3-min read
The Totton branch of Barclays is due to close on September 16.
The Totton branch of Barclays is due to close on September 16.

BARCLAYS has sparked anger by drawing up plans to axe its Totton branch - despite admitting that customers find it "convenient to use".

The bank, part of the entrance to Totton Shopping Centre, is due to close on September 16, when the cashpoint machine outside the branch will also shut.

Another bank in the same precinct closed five years ago after part of the ceiling caved in.

Daily Echo: Barclays is at the entrance to Totton Shopping Precinct.
Daily Echo: Barclays is at the entrance to Totton Shopping Precinct.

Barclays is at the entrance to Totton Shopping Precinct.

Barclays has written to people likely to be affected by its decision because 'we know you have found this branch convenient to use'."

One customer said: "If they know I and many others find it convenient, why are they closing it?"

The bank blames a dramatic drop in the number of counter transactions over the past two years.

A Barclays spokesperson said: “The decision to close a branch is never an easy one. However, customers are increasingly using alternatives to branches to do their banking and, as a result, we are seeing a sustained fall in branch visits across the UK.

“This is reflected at our Totton branch, where we’ve seen a 60 per cent reduction in counter transactions in the last 12 months, when compared to March 2020.

"In addition, 91 per cent of customers who visit the branch are also using different ways to bank and only 26 regular customers use the branch exclusively for their banking.

“We will work with our customers and provide alternative options to ensure they can continue to manage their money and receive financial expertise when required. This includes working with the local community to find different, more flexible ways for our colleagues to continue to provide local banking support, such as through pop-up presences.”

But the decision to close the bank has sparked an angry reaction on social media.

One person posted: "There will be no banks left in Totton soon. What about people who don’t do online banking, people who need to pay money in or people who need to see a banking adviser?"

Another added: "If there is a problem what do we do? Getting through on the phone is a nightmare."

Daily Echo: The NatWest bank in Totton closed in 2017 after part of the ceiling fell in.
Daily Echo: The NatWest bank in Totton closed in 2017 after part of the ceiling fell in.

The NatWest bank in Totton closed in 2017 after part of the ceiling fell in.

Totton has a population of almost 30,000 and is the largest town in the New Forest. But NatWest and HSBC closed their branches in 2017 and Halifax is shutting next month.

The closure of Halifax and Barclays will leave just two banks in the town - Nationwide and Lloyds.

Totton councillor David Harrison said: "It's mostly to do with the way people are choosing to bank these days. Many are using smart phone apps and online computer banking to deal with their finances."

Cllr Harrison said Barclays had asked him what he thought the impact would be but added: "There is no suggestion their decision will be reversed."

Last year it was revealed that more than 200 towns and villages were down to their last bank branch.

Mel Stride, chairman of the Treasury select committee, said: "Should these close, vital access to cash and banking services will be out of reach for many communities."

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