Sunday 11 October 2020

Barclays' branch closure set to make Deptford a banking desert

Plans announced by Barclays to close a slew of branches next January - including their branch in Deptford, the only bank remaining on the high street - will leave residents in Evelyn and New Cross wards without any local in-person access to banking services. 

After January, Barclays customers will have to travel to London Bridge to visit their nearest branch - and there will be little to be gained by changing banks, as nearby branches of other banks such as HSBC in Greenwich are also closing. 

Barclays has been the only bank on Deptford High Street for the last decade, since the closure of the Halifax in 2010. At that time many Halifax customers changed to Barclays because they still wanted to be able to do their banking in person. 

Of course in the last ten years things have changed and there's been a huge rise in the number of people using online and telephone banking to manage their money. But if you've ever had to visit the bank, or walked past it during opening hours, then you'll know that it inevitably involves queueing. Clearly there are still a lot of people who either need or want to do their banking face to face.

There's also still a high demand for cash in Deptford, especially with a market that is a long way from going digital. Hence the loss of three cash machines that don't charge to withdraw money will be sorely felt. 

Deptford High Street is awash with cashpoints but the vast majority are the type that get installed as free-to-use facilities and then revert to charging after six months or so. Almost all of them charge a fee of 99p upwards for withdrawals - for those on low incomes whose balance is such that they are only able to take ten or twenty quid out at a time this is a premium that they can't afford.


Dr Roger Green said...

I agree 100% with the view that the closure of Deptford's banks creates a 'banking desert' for local people. It also reinforces the approach taken by developers such as whats happening on the Convoys Wharf site that the 'remaking' of Deptford requires a shift in services such as local much needed F2F banking eg. Deptford High Street, in favour of online impersonal connections that promotes new 'incomers' to the area and totally ignores the socio-economic and community need for local services that
fit with Deptfords existing demographics.
Roger Green, Voice4Deptford

James said...

I agree that it's nice to have a local bank but I don't really see what can be done here. People are moving away from face to face banking and banks are clearly responding to this, sadly. Perhaps the council/library could set up session to get people up to speed on internet/phone banking.

As for cashpoints, there are Sainsbury's and Tesco ones near the North end of the High Street that won't start charging any time soon.

Anonymous said...

HSBC was the last bank to close on the high street -it only closed in early 2016. It's now Nightingale Pharmancy.