Barclays Bank is closing its branch in Chiswick. The bank, which is on the corner of Chiswick High Rd and Annandale Rd, will close on Wednesday 18 August 2021.
“There’s been a massive drop-off in the use of branches” a Barclays spokesman told The Chiswick Calendar. The trend was apparent even before the Covid pandemic.
“It’s not just about the numbers” he said. “There are now many different systems for doing transactions which didn’t exist when the branch was opened – contactless, cash back, online banking and telephone banking”.
The Barclays Bank Chiswick branch was opened in 1880 by the London and South Western Bank, which became part of Barclays in 1918, so it has been part of the landscape of Chiswick High Rd for more than 140 years. The closest alternative branches are at 75 King Street, Hammersmith (1.2 miles away) and 134 Kensington High Street (2.9 miles away).
‘The decision to close a branch is never an easy one. However, customers are increasingly using alternatives to branches to do their banking.
‘This is reflected at the Chiswick branch where there has been a 21 per cent reduction in counter transactions in the two years to March 2020. In addition, more than nine out of ten (92 per cent) of our customers at the branch are also using different ways to bank’.
There are however 103 regular customers use this branch exclusively for their banking and don’t use any other form of banking transaction. Manager Dacsha Panchal is contacting these customers to suggest other ways of doing their banking.
‘We will be offering virtual ‘tea and teach’ sessions for customers wishing to explore digital banking and other alternatives to branch based banking’ Barclays told The Chiswick Calendar.
Barclays does not intend to make anyone redundant as a result of this closure. The bank says colleagues working at the Chiswick branch will be offered alternative roles in the bank.
Oppostion to the closure
The Chiswick branch is in the heart of the High Rd. Macken Brothers Butchers in Turnham Green Terrace are among those who will be sorry to see it go and are mounting a campaign to try and persuade Barclays to change its mind. They say more than 70% of local traders use their facilities and they have written to local councillor John Todd and MP Ruth Cadbury seeking their support in fighting the closure.
‘With the imminent closure, small businesses like ourselves, the branch is the only way for us to operate our primary means of banking. The impact will be bad for our business since a member of staff will have to spend more considerate time for us to be able to travel to another branch, this will lead to disruption in the business.
‘The safety element comes into play when using public transport to bank or even company vehicle, not only we have to spend more money on staffing level, travelling costs (parking or public transport) but unfortunately our insurance premium will go up since we have to insure all monies.
‘How about the local community? This may lead to financial exclusion for the ones that do not move to mobile banking. Significant challenges for the disabled and elderly. Is Everyone ready for digital banking?’
Post Office an alternative say Barclays
The Barclays spokesman who talked to The Chiswick Calendar suggested the Post Office would be available as an alternative for in – person banking, but Chiswick Post Office is also under threat.
Mackens also made this point in their letter to Ruth Cadbury:
‘The post office will never be able to replace a local branch as you can’t do the following: open or close an account; make bank transfers; register Power of Attorney or grant of probate; request a replacement card; or lodge a complaint etc…
‘We were on the presumption that Barclays has to hold an internal consultation to weigh up potential impact on the community before informing affected customers of planned closures, will this be made public?’
Image above: Santander, 336 Chiswick High Rd, Google street view
Santander also closing
Earlier this year Santander announced that it too would be closing its doors in Chiswick on 15 July 2021. They say 89% of their customers who use this branch are also using additional ways to complete their banking – 47% at another Santander branch and 75% manage their money through online, mobile or telephone banking.
The nearest Santander branch is located at 36-37 King Street, Hammersmith W6 9HW (a 1.5 mile walk).
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