Barclays Eastfield Road branch to close this week

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Barclays on Eastfield Road will be closing from January 8

According to Barclays documents, the number of personal weekly counter transactions between April 2019 and March 2020 has fallen by 22% compared to the period between April 2017 to March 2018. The number of cash deposits has dropped by 27%, and cash withdrawals have fallen by 17%.

For business use, these numbers have fallen even further: weekly counter transactions between April 2019 and March 2020 are 31% lower than in April 2017 to March 2018. Cash withdrawals have fallen by 38% and deposits have dropped by 26%.

Barclays says that only 46 customers use this branch exclusively for their banking, with 62% of customers in the past 12 months also using nearby branches in Church Street and Old Fletton.

No redundancies are arising from the closure, with staff currently working in Barclays on Eastfield Road being relocated to nearby branches.

Several local individuals and groups were contacted in advance of the closure, including MP Paul Bristow, councillors for the area (Samantha Hemraj, Shabina Qayyum and Azher Iqbal), and customers of the branch, to hear and address concerns about the impact of the closure.

A statement from Barclays reads: "We understand the concerns about the closure – and we’d like to reassure everyone that, before deciding to close, we looked very carefully at how the branch is used. We’ve seen a general fall in customers coming to this branch, and many customers already use nearby branches and online or telephone banking. 

"To keep a community focus and to ensure trade stays in the local area, everyday banking can be done at the post office on Eastfield Road – it’s open from Monday to Friday between 8am and 4pm, and on Saturday between 8am and 12pm. We’re helping our customers understand which transactions they can do there, how to bank from home or their business premises, and offering them support through this transition.

"We’re speaking individually to those customers most likely to be affected by the closure, and we’re helping them feel confident with alternative ways to bank.

"For anyone who’s able to travel, the nearest branches are on Church Street and in Old Fletton, both in Peterborough. We understand it’s not always convenient to travel, so we’ve been offering support from our branch’s Digital Eagles, to help customers adapt to new ways of banking – so they don’t need to use a branch as often.

"We’ve run individual and small-group online ‘Tea and Teach’ sessions to show customers other ways to bank, including how they can set up regular payments, and how to use Pingit or the Barclays app on their mobile phones. We’ve also shown customers how to order cards and PINs and we’re helping everyone remain vigilant against fraud. Support is also available through our telephone and online services."

In December, Barclays closed its Lincoln Road branch, which drew criticism from residents and politicians. Businesses in Lincoln Road said that the closure would have a "severe impact on the vulnerable", noting that being able to access local bank branches was "a social outing" for many and that not everyone is comfortable relying on technology for banking services.

In a letter sent to Barclays by Mr Bristow regarding the closure of the Lincoln Road branch, he wrote: "The impact on vulnerable people living locally will be severe. Many of these people who need to access banking services often walk to access these services, and rely on in person services because they do not have access to technology (for a variety of reasons). Simply stating that there are two more branches 'within three miles' is not a practical alternative, as it would mean a car or bus journey and practical inconvenience.   

"Businesses along Lincoln Road and in other parts of Millfield rely on branch banking. The use of cash in this area is higher than in other parts of Peterborough, with many small businesses that are not part of national chains. These businesses would be disproportionately impacted by a branch closure of this nature, with many forced to go to considerable expense or inconvenience to adjust to different practices. 

"A high street brand like Barclays can make or break a high street, because of the connections with the local community and businesses that are built up over a long period of time. These connections and relationships are all at risk if the branch closes."

Barclays is closing more than 60 of its branches across the UK in the first three months of 2021.