Wiltshire Publications

Mayor encourages community to shop local in wake of Barclays Bank closure

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 13th, 2018 at 11:49 am.

THE Mayor of Westbury has expressed his disappointment at the news that Barclays Bank will be closing in May and is urging the community to shop local, or face losing more businesses from the town.

The High Street bank has announced that it will be closing on Friday 18th May due to low and falling numbers of transactions at the branch.

Westbury Mayor, cllr Gordon King said, “The closing of the Barclays branch in Westbury is a salutary lesson, should we need one at all, that unless we use our businesses and facilities, then they will continue to close.

“My message to everyone is simple, the more we go to Trowbridge or Warminster or even Frome or go on-line to shop or access services, then a shop or a service in Westbury will struggle to survive and we will lament its inevitable loss.”

Cllr King, has also expressed his concern about the impact on those in the community who rely on using the branch rather than use internet services and also families living in poverty. Cllr King said, “According to Home Office figures, Westbury has two distinct areas of significant levels of deprivation and in many other areas, families struggle to make ends meet.

“The decline and loss of banking services denies these communities with access to financial information and services including basic bank accounts. People will have to travel further in the future for such assistance – a situation that is difficult to accept.”

About the reasons behind the closure, a spokesperson for Barclays Bank said, “Our records show a low and falling level of transactions at the branch and additionally 78% of our branch customers are also using other ways to do their banking such as online and by telephone.  On average, nearly half [54%] of our customers are already using other branches and these figures are even higher for our business customers. We have also identified that only 92 customers solely use the counter at Barclays Westbury to undertake their banking.

“Please be assured that we do not take the decision to close any branch lightly and we are committed to adhering to the UK Access to Banking Standard.”

In response, cllr King said, “Barclays have made much use of data relating to the declining use of the branch in terms of footfall, the value and type of transactions and the changed ways in which banking services are accessed, but have made no qualitative assessment or mention of the impact of closing the branch will have on the community, the town or the people left behind because of this decision.

“They have made no mention as to whether the present situation is either unsustainable or unaffordable or indeed what they have done themselves to arrest the decline of the branch.”

The closure of Barclays Bank will mean that only one bank, Lloyds Bank, remains in the town.

White Horse News has asked Lloyds Bank about the branch’s future plans in the town. A spokesperson for Lloyds Bank said, “There are no current plans to close the Lloyds Bank branch in Westbury. We are committed to our branch network and continue to adapt our service to the changing ways our customers choose to bank with us.

“We continually review our branch network to ensure it meets the needs of our customers; when we make the difficult decision to close a branch, our customers, colleagues and the local community will be the first to know.”

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