Needham Market: Barclays announces closure of town’s last bank despite protests. What do you think?
15:21 17 June 2014
Campaigners are planning to fight against a decision to close the last remaining bank in their town.
The Barclays Bank in Needham Market will close on September 5, but no-one will lose their jobs, according to the firm.
David Ruffley MP for Bury St Edmunds criticised the move: “We keep hearing from the big four banks that they are going to focus on the customer and the high street but that boost looks pretty hollow after this announcement,” he said.
“Needham Market is a thriving town and certainly should generate enough footfall to sustain a high street bank branch.
“I shall therefore be writing to the chief executive of Barclays requesting an immediate explanation as to how they have come to this regrettable decision.”
Barclays said it had been a “difficult” decision but highlighted the use of banking facilities at the nearby Post Office.
Wendy Marchant, district councillor for the town, said: “We have a lot of elderly people and it’s going to be very inconvenient, there’s cashback at the Co-op and a cash machine at the post office but they are not open all the time.
“The bank is always busy and there’s always people in there. You often have a little wait as they only have two-to-three cashiers. It’s going to be an awful shame if it closes.
“We will try and stop it – writing to them, emailing them and then going in to see them because once it’s closed it would be very difficult to get it reopened.”
All the branch’s staff are due to move to banks elsewhere in the area.
A Barclays spokeswoman said: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices. In response to this change in customer behaviour we must evolve our business to meet their needs.
“At Barclays Needham Market branch, around two thirds of customers now regularly use alternative branches, which is why we have taken the difficult decision to close the branch.
“In addition to the option of online, telephone and mobile banking customers can undertake everyday transactions at the nearby Post Office, less than 92 metres from our Needham Market branch.
“We hope the range of alternatives including digital banking, nearby branches and Post Office access will help to ease the transition for our customers as we move out of Needham Market.”