Across Staffordshire, there is a concerning trend towards the closure of banks. This can have devastating consequences for the vulnerable and the elderly, who need just that extra bit of support with their banking. In-person services are also vital for small businesses, the lifeblood of our highstreets, who require access to cash.
Data has shown that 40% of people over the age of 65, which accounts for over 4 million people, do not use online banking, while 44% of people over the age of 55 would rather visit their local branch. Moreover, recent surveys have found that in-person banking was also more popular among over 20% of younger people.
Therefore, when I heard of the closures of Barclays in Wombourne and Lloyds in Stone, I decided to take action.
I sent out a survey to my constituents which received over 1500 responses in opposition to Wombourne Barclays closing. I then met with members of the Barclays management team, using your responses to demonstrate how much concern this closure was causing. I’m proud to say that your voices were heard, and Barclays pledged to continue operating a local in-person service in Wombourne.
Similarly, I met with representatives from Lloyds and urged them to maintain a face-to-face service in Stone. I was pleased to learn that they will delay the closure for 12 months and plan to open a banking hub which will provide face-to-face services.
I know how much anxiety bank closures can cause for my constituents, and I share their concerns. I will keep fighting to ensure Staffordshire has access to the services its people need.
The Barclays Local service at Wombourne Library operates as follows:
· Monday and Wednesday: 09.30 - 12.30, 13.00 - 16.30
· Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 09.30 - 12.30
Services at Barclays Local include financial reviews, balance requests, assistance with opening savings accounts, and support for digital banking.
Meanwhile, Stone Banking Hub will offer a range of services, from the depositing of cash and cheques, cash withdrawals, balance checks, bill payments, top-up services, and even assistance for small businesses needing change. Moreover, Community Bankers from the main UK banks will be visiting the hubs, based on demand to support more complex face-to-face banking consultations.