Banks and building society branches have been disappearing from high streets at record pace over the last few years.
And now, there will be two more closures in Wandsworth this November, of Barclays branches in Earlsfield and Southfields.
According to Barclays, the decision to close doors has been driven by an increase in online and mobile banking, and a decline in the use of physical branches across the country.
A statement says that the reason for the Earlsfield closure, planned the 4th November, is due to a decrease in customers.
“The number of transactions has gone down in the previous 24 months, and additionally 91% of our branch customers also use other ways to do their banking such as online and by telephone.
“We've identified that only 80 customers use this branch exclusively for their banking.”
Reasons listed for Southfields are very similar, which will close on the 5th November 2020.
However, Wandsworth residents have complained about the impact on longstanding staff and customers.
One resident, Fatma Haider, said:
“It was so convenient for my dad to pop in and now he’ll have to travel by bus to get into our new local branch.”
For elderly and less mobile residents it may be a struggle to reach nearby banks, such as in Tooting, which are likely to face larger queues.
The closures may also have knock-on-effects for local businesses. Owner of Derosier Chocolate and Coffee, Andrew Finkelstein, adds:
“This branch was widely used by local shopkeepers to pay in cash takings. It makes our card only policy more likely to become permanent.”
Between January 2019 and December 2020, Barclays closed the most branches. There are further plans in 2020 for Barclays to shut 59 branches.
The Barclays closures follow similar course to Santander, which closed in Roehampton in March 2020, and Wandsworth in May 2019.
Putney MP, Fleur Anderson, is disappointed with what she believes is a lack of co-ordination between the closures.
The Labour Party representative said:
“I have written to Barclays to ask them to review their decision and to keep the Southfields branch open. I am very disappointed that in the same week Santander announced that they are closing their University branch in Roehampton. Both were the last local branches in their areas.”
“There should be a national plan between banks to keep one bank open in every town centre for local businesses and the many people who can’t travel to get to a bank.”