Banks and Post Offices: Dealing with closures and reduced hours 

The Halifax branch in Potters Bar is set to close next month.

The Halifax branch in Potters Bar is set to close next month. - Credit: Google Streetview

I popped out on Friday afternoon to collect a parcel from the Potters Bar Royal Mail delivery office. I was out when it when its delivery was attempted and it was urgent, as it contained a gift I wanted to send onto a friend overseas.

Standing outside the firmly shut door in the pouring rain I was surprised to read the notice displaying their revised opening times.  

Unbeknownst to me on June 14 they had altered their opening times. It is now open only two hours a day, 8am to 10am, on most days except Thursdays and Saturdays where opening is extended by two to three hours. At first I was annoyed and astonished at these greatly reduced hours, but, having collected my parcel the next day I was understanding, if a bit sad.  

The reduction of hours has been justified by a lack of customer footfall and the need for a redistribution of service following the pressure of COVID-19 has exerted on the Royal Mail. The idea being that the staff manning the shop are better serving the public by assisting in deliveries.  

I suppose if I analyse my own behaviour it's no wonder these changes have occurred. I can't put my finger on the last time I went to the delivery office to pick up a parcel.

Also, perhaps if I hadn't of been in such a hurry to pick it up I may have arranged to have it redelivered instead. Re-delivery is much more convenient, free and easy to arrange. These changes are driven by customer behaviour.  

What's more the Halifax branch in Potters Bar is set to close on October 18. This follows the closure of other bank branches in recent years, such as HSBC, and others that have reduced their hours, like Nationwide.

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With more people choosing to bank online and the pandemic forcing many to do so for the first time this trend has only accelerated.  

The amenities of our high street are changing based on modern needs and are set to continue. But still, I see big queues for the banks in the morning at opening time and, of course, there are situations where face-to-face contact will always be necessary.