June 25 will be the last day for the Barclays Bank branch at 32 Market Place, Warminster, in Britain. Another branch that will be shuttered in the country is the one at Sibson Road, Birstall, in Leicester. The reason is that more and more people are moving to online banking, reducing the need to maintain physical branches. There has been a significant drop in over-the-counter transactions in the past few years, prompting these closures.
However, town councillors in Warminster are not happy with the closure as they feel that the elderly population will be adversely affected, and that they still believe in and are most comfortable with cash transactions. With these closures, they may even be forced to travel long distances to use another branch of the Bank. These closures, some feel, will entail more travel, increased inconvenience, and more time, for the elderly, in addition to more expenses in terms of fuel for their cars or cost of availing public transport.
The Bank, however, maintains that its other branches are open and will continue to offer services. It points out that customers can also use the over-the-counter banking services at post offices in Warminster and other locations. It reveals that only about 128 customers use its Warminster branch exclusively for their banking needs, while a good 84 per cent use the online mode or the telephone for their banking services. In fact, in the past five years, there has been a 10 per cent increase in the number of customers using alternative modes of banking instead of physically visiting the bank. Barclays also defends the closure by stating that in the past one year, 25 per cent of its customers have been using other branches close by.
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