Boost for Bilbrook and Wombourne in Barclays move
Barclays has pledged not to close branches in remote areas or where it is the last bank in town for the next two years – including Bilbrook and Wombourne.
The bank is also launching a new cashback scheme enabling people to withdraw money at small businesses – but said that from 2020 its customers will no longer have a facility which allows them to withdraw cash over the counter at Post Offices.
The bank’s new cashback scheme should make it easier for customers to withdraw money at businesses in remote towns and areas without a branch or ATM.
Barclays said the freeze on remote and ‘last bank in town’ closures will see more than 100 branches ring-fenced so that they remain until at least October 2021.
It is also exploring ways to boost demand in branches generally, starting initially with pilots in 12 areas.
Barclays said it remains “committed to the Post Office framework” and customers and businesses will still be able to pay in cash, cheques and check their balance – but the facility for over-the-counter cash withdrawals will end from January 2020.
Cash withdrawal by cheque will still be available, subject to arrangement.
It is writing to affected customers about the changes.
Adam Rowse, managing director of branch-based banking at Barclay, said: “By maintaining last-in-town or remote branches over the next two years, and working with the community, we hope to increase demand and keep these branches viable.
“We also recognise that there are opportunities to support customers with access to cash where there is no branch or ATM nearby.
“We are launching a cashback offering working with merchants to give customers access to cash over the counter.”
Barclays’ new cashback scheme will enable customers to withdraw cash at businesses in remote towns and areas where there is no branch or ATM alternative within 1km.
It will launch in more than 200 locations from January 2020.
Meanwhile, Barclays is trialling how it can work with customers and communities, including MPs, councillors and business groups, to see if customer demand can be increased, which would help to make branches more viable in the longer term.
The 12 trial locations include Pickering and Yarm in Yorkshire, Wombourne in Staffordshire and Risca in South Wales.
Part of the trial includes flexible branch opening hours and making technology available to extend services such as video banking.