Welwyn residents angered by Barclays closure as village loses its only bank

PUBLISHED: 13:43 07 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:47 07 December 2018

The Barclays bank branch on Church Street in Welwyn, which will close in March, 2019.

The Barclays bank branch on Church Street in Welwyn, which will close in March, 2019.

Archant

Welwyn village will be left without a bank when its Barclays branch closes its doors early next year.

The decision has angered and saddened residents, with the impact of the closure on the elderly and local businesses among their concerns.

Some customers have received letters notifying them the bank was closing on Friday, March 29, 2019 and outlining their options beyond that date.

The impending closure was described as “a cost saving exercise without regard for the needs of the village” by resident Steve Ronay.

In a statement, Barclays community banking director Donna Hagan said: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices.

“At Barclays Old Welwyn branch, customer usage has continued to fall (13 percent) and 84 percent of our customers now use telephone and online banking, which is why we have taken the difficult decision to close it.”

It is understood the cashpoint will be removed when the branch closes.

“We hope that the availability of our Barclays branch at The Howard Centre, Welwyn Garden City as well as access to services at the local Post Office at 20 High Street, Welwyn, along with our range of digital channels will help to ease the transition for our customers,” the statement said.

However, Mr Ronay argued that banking services offered by a post office were limited and some residents did not bank online.

“The list of things you can’t do in a post office is longer than the list of things you can, including opening and closing accounts, transferring money between accounts, requesting a replacement debit card, complaining about your bank,” he said.

“Sure, some things can be done online, but that disadvantages those who, for different reasons, do not use a computer or bank online.”

Others were worried about how older residents would adjust to the change.

Former Welwyn resident Mary Stewart said the elderly had been “forgotten” in the decision, while Lorraine King felt her parents were among those who may not understand or trust other banking options or locations,

Barclays has indicated it will assist customers with exploring alternate options before the closure.

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