Barclays have just announced that their Marlborough branch – sited on the South side of the High St opposite to the Town Hall – will be closing for good at mid-day on Friday 24 September.
This is the latest in a stream of Bank branch closures in Marlborough, and whilst (for the time being?) we will still have Lloyds (on the North side of the High St) and Nationwide a couple of doors away (slightly different – a mutual Building Society) where does this leave customers of Barclays from now on? (And the staff working at that branch?)
Digital – mobile app – is the standard answer. As is ‘from your computer’. Another standard response. But what if you live outside of Marlborough, in an area where there is no mobile signal and the power supply isn’t reliable? No communications, hence no banking. I’m sure that many living in the area will have experienced last Friday’s power cut which lasted for more than seven hours covering quite a wide area to the South and West of Marlborough and maybe beyond as well(?). Sure, popping in to a branch would have been easier to pay in or get account information.
So what about cash machines (two Barclays machines in the High Street) and paying in cheques?
Cash machines: the communication from Barclays informs customers that they can use either the Lloyds or Nationwide cash point. This implies that the machine outside the Barclays branch will be going, as will the Barclays machine in the wall of WH Smiths. But this hasn’t been confirmed – yet – although the question has been asked. Marlborough.news awaits Barclays’ response.
Cheques can be paid in via the Post Office (at the back of One Stop, assuming that the counters are actually open at the time) and, apparently, using the mobile phone app it is possible to take a pic of the cheque on the phone and pay in that way. Or so a contact at Barclays explained. But when paying in via the Post Office, you will need Barclays-supplied envelopes in which to put the cash/cheque(s). However, from (personal/business) experience if using the Post Office make sure that you keep the paper receipt and also proof of what was deposited – cash, cheque, denomination, value etc. – as it has proved difficult to track down such payments if they get lost/mislaid or somehow excluded from the ‘system’. Not possible to identify the point at which the issue actually becomes a problem – Post Office, Bank(?), but it has happened and time/effort expended in phone calls and other channels of contact can be significant when attempting to resolve.
So this is brings banking one stage further away from being a personal contact procedure, where we all know our regular contacts in our branch, and vice versa. Into a digitalised world where we rely on our mobile phone – or possibly computer/tablet. And relying on (hoping for?) a consistent power supply and mobile signal. And praying that it all works.
Arrivederci Marlborough Barclays……