Michael Fabricant says “I am very disappointed to learn that Barclays intend to close their branch in Lichfield in September. While I appreciate that retail banking is very different from twenty five years ago with most transactions being conducted electronically, the closure of the branch will inconvenience many of its customers. I also feel sorry for the staff based at the branch.
“Barclays say that people can use the nearby Post Office in Bakers Lane or use other cash machines in the City of Lichfield at rival banks.
“My fear is that this growing trend of closing branches nationally is not confined to Barclays and that other branches might close too.
“The old adage: ‘use it or lose it’ applies to banks as well as it does to any other business. Frankly, I would consider closing my Barclays account if I had one and move to one of the other banks still open in Lichfield such as NatWest, HSBC, or Lloyds to help keep them open. I shall of course write to the head of Barclays asking them to reconsider their decision, but I know that in other areas they do not change their minds so I am not hopeful. Sadly, as an MP, I cannot instruct them to keep the branch open.”
David Bruce, Head of Corporate Relations in the central region of Barclays says: “On Friday 15th September 2023, we are closing our branch in Lichfield.
“Although the branch is closing, we will still have an active presence in the community via a new and alternative physical presence. We plan to provide additional face-to-face access for banking services via one of our community locations – from the point of closure. Further details, including the timings and the location of the Barclays Local site, will be communicated to our regular customers in the coming weeks. We will be delighted to let you know further details in due course.
“The decision to close a branch is never an easy one, however, the way people bank today is unrecognisable from 50 years ago when almost every banking transaction took place in a branch. Now, that number is less than 10 percent, and we need to make sure that we are providing our services in ways that best reflect customers’ needs, including outside of traditional branch formats.
“This ongoing change in behaviour means we are seeing a sustained fall in customer transactions across our network and this is reflected at the Lichfield branch where there has been a 68 per cent reduction in counter transactions in the last twelve months, compared to the twelve months to March 2020. In addition, we can identify that 89 per cent of our customers at the branch are using alternative ways in which to undertake their banking, including via the telephone, online and mobile app.
“Despite the branch closure, we are confident that access to banking remains sufficient in the local community; everyday transactions can be completed at any Post Office, with the closest located at 25-27 Bakers Lane, Lichfield WS13 6NQ, a short walk away. The closest free-to-use ATM is NatWest located at 47 Market Street, Lichfield WS13 6LE, while the closest alternative branches are Sutton Coldfield and Cannock.
“We appreciate that not all of our customers will adopt change at the same pace, and we would like to underline our commitment to supporting our vulnerable customers through this change. We have identified that in total, less than 10 regular customers use this branch exclusively for their banking and do not interact with us in other ways. We will be making personal contact with our regular and vulnerable branch users to discuss their options and guide them through alternative ways to bank.”