Protesting over Barclays closure
Dear Sir, — I attach my letter to Jason Clarke, community banking director of Manchester and Cheshire, Barclays Bank.
I am organising a peaceful demonstration outside the branch on Crewe Road Alsager this Friday, 10.30am-12.30pm.
Dear Mr Clarke, — I write this letter with a heavy heart. Tomorrow marks the first day of the last working week when my home town of Alsager, Cheshire, has a bank. The Alsager branch of Barclays Bank closes this Friday, 13th July at midday.
I have found your leaflet Reasons For Closure And Alternative Ways To Bank interesting.
It refers to a second booklet, supposedly available online at barclays/ukbranchclosures, where “concerns and feedback from the local community are shared”, but I cannot find this.
I would be grateful if you could forward it to me.
Alsager will be an “unbanked community”, although you suggest I use my local post office. You tell me the post office will take longer than your bank to process transactions. Let’s hope the post office doesn’t close.
You also suggest I travel to Kidsgrove, Crewe or Congleton (three to seven miles away).
I note sadly that your Sandbach branch is also closing. Sandbach is a bigger town than Alsager.
Fortunately I have a car (although to use it is bad for the environment) but if I had to rely on public transport, as many do, I would be in trouble. I also wonder how long the Kidsgrove, Crewe and Congleton branches will remain open?
You refer me to other banking services, which require a smartphone or computer. I admit I am a technophobe.
I am not confident using these banking services and recent news stories like the TSB’s computing trouble do not inspire confidence.
Other vulnerable bank users (those on lower incomes, the elderly, the disabled and the digitally excluded) will also experience difficulty accessing banking services.
I wonder – are you opening branches elsewhere, perhaps in more affluent areas?
Will the Alsager branch closure adversely affect bank lending to small and medium-sized businesses?
I note that when people switch banks, branch location is given as a key reason. Alsager is a growing town with 2,000 new homes either built or due to be built here. That’s a lot of potential new customers to miss out on.
Who would ask for their local bank branch to close? Banks are important service providers. How does Barclays value its service (1,014 transactions per week) to the 2,385 regular and heavy users of Alsager branch?
I note that your data on customer and transaction numbers was collected to September 2017. What has happened since then when many new homes have been occupied in the town?
I have been a Barclays customer for 35 years. I use the Alsager branch every week.
As well as my personal banking needs, I have received advice from your staff on other matters including handling my late parents’ financial affairs. Like many others, I greatly appreciate a bricks and mortar branch with a counter service and efficient staff.
I am concerned about the effect of Alsager’s last bank closing on the rest of the town centre. Total consumer footfall may fall. Many people want to bank and shop at the same time.
Big banks used to protect the “last bank in town”, presumably recognising, the importance of a local bank but this policy was dispensed with in 2014.
We will have another empty building in our town centre, joining the defunct and increasingly shabby NatWest building, vacated 14 months ago.
Perhaps high business rates have had an impact and your Alsager branch building has come to the end of its lease. Is the Alsager branch loss-making?
I am organising a peaceful demonstration outside the Alsager branch 10.30am-12.30am this Friday, 13th July. This is to highlight our community’s sadness at losing our last bank.
We will also present your staff with a “Sorry you’re leaving” card.
I look forward to hearing from you. — Yours faithfully,
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