Following the closure of the Alderley Edge branches of NatWest in July 2017 and the Royal Bank of Scotland in November 2018, the last remaining bank in the village will be kept open until at least October 2021.
Barclays has promised not to close branches in remote areas, or where it is the last bank in town or village for the next two years. This will see over 100 branches, including the one on London Road, ring-fenced and remain open until at least October 2021.
In addition, Barclays is stepping up efforts to avoid closures of last in town or remote branches. The bank is trialling how it can work with customers and communities (including MPs, councillors, business groups) to see if customer demand can be increased and help make the branches more viable in the longer term. The twelve trial locations include Pickering and Yarm in Yorkshire, Wombourne, Staffordshire and Risca, Wales, with further locations to be announced. Part of the trial will include flexible opening hours and making technology available to extend services such as video banking.
Barclays will also introduce a cashback scheme enabling customers to withdraw cash at businesses in remote towns and areas where there is no branch or ATM alternative within 1km. This will launch in over 200 locations from January 2020.
Adam Rowse, MD Branch Based Banking at Barclays said: "We are constantly exploring new ways to evolve the role of the branch. By maintaining last in town or remote branches over the next two years, and working with the community, we hope to increase demand and keep these branches viable. We also recognise that there are opportunities to support customers with access to cash where there is no branch or ATM nearby. We are launching a cash back offering working with merchants to give customers access to cash over the counter. By behaving differently, we hope to see a real difference in how customers interact with us."
Additionally, in areas where the bank is no longer able to maintain a physical presence, Barclays will help those communities through pop-up banking pods, providing face to face financial support and education, showing up at 300 locations by the end of 2021.