Barclays may close up to 400 branches
NEWS that Barclays Bank is considering closing up to 400 branches has concerned North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson.
Barclays is reportedly considering closing up to a quarter of its branch network over the next five years and there are fears that other banks may follow suit.
Barclays Bank has branches in Bude, Camelford and Launceston as well as in Bodmin, Padstow and Wadebridge.
A bank spokesman said that although there will be closures there is no timeframe and no list of branches up for closure has been put together.
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"Increasing use of technology is changing the way in which customers choose to do their banking and creates opportunities for Barclays to offer services in new ways, complementing the branch network," said the spokesman.
Lib Dem MP Mr Rogerson said that the possibility of closures was extremely worrying for rural communities.
He said he had written to the chief executive of Barclays, Antony Jenkins, to raise his concerns about the impact of any branch closures in North Cornwall.
Mr Rogerson said: "If Barclays is going to close up to 400 branches then it is likely that many of those would be in rural areas like ours.
"The prospect of further bank closures is deeply worrying after the loss of HSBC in Padstow, the closure of Britannia in Bude and the removal of some services from HSBC in Bodmin.
"Many people already struggle to access banking services in North Cornwall and the prospect of having to travel even further to the nearest bank will make it extremely difficult or impossible for many, particularly the elderly, vulnerable or those without a car. Banking online or over the telephone is all well and good but many people and businesses in Cornwall won't be able to access these online services, with many more simply preferring to deal with someone face-to-face.
"I have written to the chief executive of Barclays to set out my serious concerns about any programme of bank closures and to spell out the reality of what this would mean in rural areas like North Cornwall."
The closure of a branch of the Britannia at Bude by the Co-operative Bank just two months ago was described by a local councillor as a blow against rural banking.
The branch had been identified for closure in the new year, with the loss of five jobs. The Co-operative Bank said that, as announced in its bank recapitalisation plan, it intended to "rationalise its branch network".