Barclays branch closure leaves woman ‘stressed’ and ‘frustrated’
Samantha Evans, 36, lives in Devizes, Wiltshire, and has been affected by the closure of her local Barclays bank.
A long-time customer, Ms Evans has described the “stress” of not being able to easily access in-person banking.
She said: “When I found out the branch was being closed, it was really frustrating to say the least.”
In total, Barclays is to close at least 69 locations by the end of 2023, becoming the latest in a list of popular high street providers shutting the doors of numerous branches.
While some Barclays services can be accessed via the Post Office, certain customers remain concerned about the impact of in-person closures.
Ms Evans explained she suffers from chronic pain and mobility issues due to a rare and massive tumour, and has gone through arduous surgeries and recovery.
Spinal issues and severe pain means she finds mobility challenging and she has to navigate these hurdles on a day-to-day basis.
The nearest branch cited by Barclays in its closure paperwork is in Chippenham, some 10.2 miles away.
Ms Evans continued: “Having the Devizes branch closed down has made sure it’s harder for me to access actual face to face support.
“It’s meant that if I have a problem, I have to call or use my mobile banking app to access support.
“Any time I call I’m not able to get hold of anyone in the UK, and sometimes there is a noticeable language barrier, making it even more stressful.”
Ms Evans explained it was only “by chance” she discovered her local branch would be closing.
She claims she did not receive any correspondence from her bank either via post or through mobile banking.
Prior to her branch closing in February 2022, Ms Evans said she had started to use the mobile banking app to check her balance and make sure her payments had gone out as planned.
But she explained she had found online banking very difficult to navigate in the meantime.
Ms Evans added: “I was relieved when Barclays brought out the app, although if I had any issues I would go into branch anyway to get face to face support.”
The changes sparked Ms Evans’ desire to look for banking alternatives, and she eventually decided to open up an account with digital provider Revolut.
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Explaining her decision, she said: “Revolut is purely an online bank. But the support on offer, ease of use and the sheer amount of choices you have there made up for it being purely digital.”
Barclays has said customers visit its branches “less and less each year”, leading to an assessment on how and why branches are used.
The bank has said in some circumstances this will mean a “difficult decision” to close a branch.
Citing its reasons for closing the Devizes branch, Barclays said it had identified “only 134 customers use their branch exclusively for their banking”.
Some 19 percent of Devizes branch customers have been using nearby branches in the past 12 months, the bank added.
Bank branch closures are not uncommon, with the consumer website Which? estimating some 5,579 branches have closed for good since January 2015.
Ms Evans is still backing Barclays, after being a long-term customer of 14 years, and is uncertain about completely swapping over to a new provider.
However, she stressed she is keen for Barclays to “turn it back around” and offer the kind of service she has come to consider standard from the high street bank.
She added: “Right now, it’s more like not rewarding. Less than helpful and definitely more stress to deal with.”
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