MP's fears for 'vulnerable community' as Barclays bank announces Cleveleys closure
Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard has urged banks to reconsider their closures as Barclays becomes Cleveleys' latest bank set to shut its doors.
Barclays has announced its branch in Crescent East, Cleveleys will shut on June 4.
The news comes just weeks after HSBC announced it would also be closing its Cleveleys branch in August.Mr Maynard said he feared the decision would hit his most vulnerable constituents the hardest.
“Coming so soon after the decision by HSBC this is another blow to our local high street," he said.
“It is all well and good banks saying a high percentage of customers access services online. But for the most vulnerable in our community, the elderly and those on low incomes, bank branches remain essential. The pace of closures, targeting this particular community is worrying.
“At the end of the day people will face greater inconvenience and cost to access banking services, which is not acceptable.”
Barclays said the decision to close its Cleveleys branch came after the number of counter transactions decreased in the last two years, with 85 per cent of branch customers also using other ways to do their banking, such as online or by phone.
In the past 12 months, 37 per cent of Cleveleys customers have been using other branches nearby, the company said.
And it had also "identified that only 106 customers use this branch exclusively for their banking."
Weekly counter transactions at the Cleveleys bank dropped to 608 for personal accounts between April 2019 and March 2020, a 20 per cent decrease from 757 between April 2017 and March 2018, documents showed.
In the past year, 2,815 customers used the counter in branch for personal accounts at least three times a week, with 539 people using it more than 12 times weekly.
After the closure, the closest Barclays counter for Cleveleys' customers will be Birley Street, Blackpool - some four miles away.
Mr Maynard was concerned branch closures would not only impact customers, but the high street as a whole.
He continued: “Banks drive footfall, of that there is no doubt.
“Without banks people have fewer reasons to head to our high streets or choose to go elsewhere where they can do everything they need in one go.
“In closing branches banks like Barclays and HSBC are damaging the viability of our town centres just at the time shops and other businesses need customers the most. I’ve asked both HSBC and Barclays to look again at their decisions.”
"It is all well and good saying people can use the Post Office. But every bank expects the same," he added.
“As a result, those who use the Post Office for other essential services suffer.
“I want banks to start thinking outside the box, to consider shared hub facilities in towns like Cleveleys. This needs to happen now, while branches are still open as I fear once counters close, services are lost to our communities for good.”
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