I have received the e-mail below in response to my comments regarding the closure of Barclays Bank in Wokingham later this summer. I would be interested in hearing the views of my constituents who will be affected by the closure.
Dear Sir John Redwood,
Thank you for your email regarding the closure of our Wokingham branch.
I want to reassure you that we know face-to-face banking continues to play an important role for some of our customers in Wokingham, and following the branch closure we are seeking to provide a continued presence in the community via a new alternative physical touchpoint, either at a local retail outlet or via a local community space. This is aimed at providing dedicated in person colleague support for customers with complex financial needs and non-transactional services, without the need for travel. We are progressing the local arrangements as we speak and we will of course let you and our customers know more details once finalised.
Turning to shared banking hubs, as a result of the new arrangements announced by Cash Access UK (formerly the Cash Action Group), LINK (the organisation that oversees the ATM network) undertakes an independent review of each community to be impacted by banking service closures to assess their cash needs. Following that review, LINK has the autonomy to commission new cash services, which could be an ATM, enhancements to local Post Office facilities or a Bank Hub, if an unmet need is identified. To confirm no additional access to cash facility needs have been identified following Barclays Wokingham branch closure and the removal of the ATM. As outlined below, the nearest free-to-use ATMs are located at Lloyds and HSBC, Market Place, Wokingham.
More broadly, we continue to work with Cash Access UK on shared solutions with our peers, as we continue to collaborate on innovative and sustainable solutions for customers to bank in different ways or lack confidence in a digital world. In addition, communities are able to request a review from LINK should they feel they have an unaddressed problem with access to cash https://www.link.co.uk/consumers/request-access-to-cash/access-to-cash-in-your-area/.
Finally, we would encourage any of our customers with concerns to talk to colleagues at the Barclays Wokingham branch, or if you are contacted and able to pass on their details, I will organise for one of my colleagues to reach out directly.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can help further and I am of course very happy to arrange a call with Liz Smith, Barclays Customer Care Director, to discuss this in more detail. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me.
With kind regards,
May 21, 2023
Afraid it is simply a dumbing down of Customer Service by the Bank, this time to be the non existence of any form of customer service, since there will be no one to talk to at all.
Banks have been slowly going from cashier counters/desks, to machines, and now nothing at all, forcing people to go on line, like it, and trust it, or not.
A national telephone number is no substitute at all, simple fact of life.
Banking hubs are a part answer, but only if you are available on the one day they will be open for your particular Bank, and as yet no one knows what services will be included.
The Post Office offers a limited service, and will not be able to help with financial problems/questions /explanations.
Barclays was my first Bank and so I have been a personal customer of theirs for 55 years, I was also a business customer for 35 years.
Given that very few Banks offer any customer services at all, we will eventually get a race to the bottom as the only criteria for choosing a Bank at all will be interest rates, where customers will go for the lowest rate to borrow, and the highest rate to save.
The financial services sector has gone through a lot of change over the past few decades, and I am afraid to say it has all been to reduce service, and complicate matters and proceedures for what should be a very simple service.
Loyalty does not pay any more as they Banks have shown.
I will search for the personal touch and withdraw my services/money to all those who withdraw their service from me.
May 23, 2023
You make excellent points and I would like to add that, since Post Office Counters closed the Broad Street main office and moved their service into Smith’s, they have too pushed self service machines and provided very limited counter staff.
With so many bank branches closing, I can’t see how the post office will be able to make up for the lack of bank branches. It is not unusual to queue for more than half an hour to speak to a counter clerk.
With more and more government services and businesses putting everything on line, and often not offering any alternative, many of us are finding ourselves excluded from society and but for helpful grandchildren, I would be in the soft stuff.
May 23, 2023
Indeed with more and more people having to go online or having to access their accounts via an AP on a phone, Financial security is clearly at a greater risk, as outlined on TV only yesterday “Rip off Britain”.
Lose your phone, and you may lose your savings, as a clever criminal it would seem can open the AP’S without a password, by using available software, it was suggested.
It really is only a question of time before many people are scammed, one way or another, simply because crime appears to pay, and the Banks do not seem to be really bothered, after all it is not their money that is at risk is it !
May 26, 2023
The building that Lloyds are in is being re-developed and I have a feeling that will be the end of Lloyds in Wokingham then too.
On a different matter, I see the council are going to spend £600K of Government (e.g. taxpayers) money to “plan” a cycleway along the Reading Road from Broad Street down to the flyover at Winnesh (1.6 miles apparently). They also stated that they don’t have the funds to actually build it yet. That sounds like a great deal of money for just some fancy maps and graphics to be produced – I wonder how much the actual building of these cycleways will cost?
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