LEADING town figures have criticised a decision by Barclays to close its Pershore branch in a move which will leave residents with just two major High Street banks.
The banking giant’s decision to close its doors in March has been met with disappointment with the town’s MP and Mayor even urging unhappy customers to switch services.
Barclays will close its Bridge Street branch on Friday, March 2 due to declining customer numbers, meaning the town’s 7,000 residents will only be served by Lloyds on Broad Street or TSB on the High Street.
The move follows the closure of HSBC, on High Street, in October last year due to its UK branches seeing a 40 per cent drop in footfall from 2011 to 2016 and citing 93 per cent of its customers now use online banking, which Barclays has echoed.
Bosses at the banking giant have vowed to work with town businesses and the wider community to discuss alternative banking options.
But Pershore’s MP Harriett Baldwin has written to the bank’s chief executive criticising the decision and challenging the claims customer numbers had dropped 35 per cent over the past two years.
“I was very disappointed to see yet another Barclays branch close and I’ve already been contacted by angry customers who are upset by this decision,” said Mrs Baldwin.
“Certainly this will cost Barclays customers in Pershore. I know the branch was busy and I would challenge the data on usage.”
Mayor of Pershore, Coun Bob Gillmor slammed the move and urged town customers to vote with their feet and switch banks.
“It’s a great shame and I’m sorry to see another bank go. Pershore is a growing, vibrant and busy town with several hundred new homes being built in and around it.
“But this is a sign of the times. Banks are retreating behind machines and the internet. I understand the move to digital, but you can’t pay in cheques, withdraw cash or speak face-to-face with staff online.
“However, I switched banks fairly recently and found it very easy so would urge any unhappy customers to do the same.”
Adrian Davies, Barclays community banking director for the area, said: “At Barclays Pershore branch, customer usage has declined by 35 per cent in the last 24 months, which is why we’ve taken the difficult decision to close it.
“We hope the availability of our other Barclays branches at Evesham, Worcester and Tewkesbury, along with our range of digital channels, will help to ease the transition for our customers.”