The plan to close a Barclays bank in Mitcham sparked an uproar among local residents as well as the local MP. Siobhain McDonagh, the local Labor MP for Mitcham and Morden told BBC Politics London this morning that the closure of branches on Main Street discriminates against the elderly, disabled and vulnerable in society. She also accused the bank of not being honest with its customers about the reasons for the shutdown.
Over the past five years, more than 500 banks and building societies have closed in London and it looks like the latest proposed closure of a Barclays branch in the greater London area of ââMitcham may be a step too far for some.
Not only did this anger customers – many of whom have been at the big bank for 30 years – but it also angered Labor MP Siobhain McDonagh.
They demand that the branch remains open and that the banks stop discriminating against the most vulnerable in society.
On the show, Ms McDonagh said: “It’s devastating – we did a survey in September and 50% of customers we spoke to don’t have internet access or credit on their phones.”
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âWith over three years to run on the lease, the decision to leave Mitcham is a slap in the face for my elderly and vulnerable constituents who rely on the accessibility and security of their local bank branch.
“This is yet another devastating blow to the main street.”
According to Which, Barclays has reduced its branch network more than any other bank since 2015, with 650 branches closed, or planned, by the end of 2021.
Overall, the number of open branches nationwide fell from 14,855 in 2010 to almost 50% (7,675) in March 2020.
Banks say they are just keeping up with the times as we move closer to a cashless society.
However, half (50%) of customers surveyed outside of this particular Barclays branch said they did not have access to online banking.
And more than half (51%) had used the agency for more than 10 years, with 65% of clients saying they used the agency more than three times per month.
Despite this, the branch is still expected to close on October 20, 2021, even though the bank’s lease does not expire until December 2024.
A study by Age UK found that one in five older people still depend on cash for their daily expenses.
Banks will need to find other ways for vulnerable people to get their hands on their money – Labor MP is now working with the bank to help secure alternative services for residents hardest hit by the latest hit on Main Street .
And in the meantime, she asks Barclays to keep the branch open until the lease expires.
Express.co.uk asked Barclays for comment but has yet to receive a response.