“Disappointment” over upcoming closure of Barclays in Bungay
- Credit: Nick Butcher
The bank, in Broad Street, is due to close on October 23.
The president of Bungay Chamber of Trade has spoken of his disappointment following the news that Barclays will be closing its branch in the town.
The news comes as a big blow for residents and business owners, after the town’s NatWest branch closed only five months ago.
The closure will leave the town with only one remaining bank, Lloyds Bank, although the branch in Market Place is only open three days a week.
Barclays community leader for Norfolk and Suffolk, Chris Channell, blamed the fall in customer numbers on the closure.
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He said: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices. We must therefore evolve the shape and size of our branch network in response to changing customer behaviour.
“At Barclays Bungay branch, customer usage has declined by 54% since 2008 and 51% of customers now regularly use alternative branches.
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“Our colleagues at the Barclays Bungay branch have been consulted about the change and will be given the opportunity to work at a nearby branch.”
President of Bungay Chamber of Trade and owner of Giddens and Thompson Greengrocers in the town, Simon Thompson, said: “I know this is happening all over the country but it doesn’t make it right.
“They say that everyone does Internet banking these days but there are still a lot of people who prefer to go into the branch, especially in small towns like Bungay where a lot of elderly people live. It is outrageous.
“Whenever you go in Barclays or Lloyds there is always a queue so I know they are still well used.
“They are here to provide a service to the community and if they can’t do that then why should we still bank with them?”
The letter sent out to customers explaining the closure lists Beccles as the nearest alternative branch, 8.5 miles away, with further branches in Halesworth and Harleston.
However Mr Thompson said he was worried that if people were leaving Bungay to do their banking, they might do their shopping elsewhere too.
“We’ve still got a cash point at Lloyds and you can get money out at the Post Office but that is not 24 hours. And Lloyds is only open three days a week now.
“It is a worry because if people can’t get cash out they can’t spend it here.”
Waveney MP Peter Aldous has called a meeting with Barclays to get a full explanation on the decision and is urging people affected by the closure to get in touch with their views.
He said: “This announcement is disappointing as Barclay’s Bungay branch has been serving customers in the Waveney Valley for a very long time.
“I wish to obtain from them a fuller explanation of the decision and to scrutinise it closely.
“To do this, I welcome feedback from residents and businesses in Bungay and the surrounding area.”