On Friday 26 February local MP Caroline Dinenage met with Barclays’ Community Director for Hampshire to discuss the forthcoming closure of Barclays Stubbington branch. The meeting followed a letter Caroline wrote to Barclays on 7 February 2016 urging them to reconsider their decision.
At the meeting, Barclays explained that transactions at the Stubbington branch have reduced by 11% in the last year and more than 68% of customers use alternative branches, of which there are three within a five mile radius. Caroline raised her concerns about the impact of the closure on the local area where elderly or vulnerable customers may entirely depend on accessible banking services close to home.
Barclays confirmed that they will reach out to the most vulnerable customers by:
· Promoting understanding of alternative options of using the local Post Office, mobile, online and telephone services to set up direct debits, check a balance, or change contact details
· Organising Digital Eagles sessions called ‘Tea and Teach’ for those customers who want to understand more about on-line and mobile banking, which will include tips on fraud awareness
Speaking after the meeting, Caroline said:
“Over the past two years my constituency has been subject to a number of local bank closures, which I have vehemently campaigned against. While I understand that commercial pressures force banks to take tough decisions, if they continue to make these solely on the basis of diminishing footfall they could conceivably get to a stage where there are no branches left!"
“While disappointed that Barclays won’t be changing their mind, I am pleased that they are making efforts to mitigate the impact of the closure through the useful Tea and Teach sessions. I hope local people take full advantage of this opportunity to hone their online banking skills.”
Chris Maynard, Barclays Community Director for Hampshire, said:
“The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices. At Barclays Stubbington, customer usage has continued to decline, which is why we have taken the difficult decision to close the branch on Friday 20th May 2016.
“Our colleagues at the Barclays Stubbington branch have been consulted about the change and will be relocated to alternative branches nearby. We hope that the availability of branches at Gosport, Fareham and Park Gate and access to services at the local Post Office at 39 The Green, Stubbington, along with our range of digital channels will help to ease the transition for our customers as we move out of Stubbington branch.
“We do not take the decision to close any branch lightly and we are committed to adhering to the new UK Government protocol on branch closures. We will be proactively engaging with local businesses and the wider community to discuss the alternative ways customers will be able to undertake their banking locally, before the branch closes on Friday 20th May 2016.”
The Stubbington ‘Tea and Teach’ sessions are organised for the 2nd March and 11th March at Barclays Stubbington branch at 2pm. Subsequent dates will be confirmed depending on take-up. Anyone interested in attending should register at the branch in advance to secure their space. On the day attendees need to bring with them their laptop, tablet or mobile device.