I am delighted that Barclays has chosen Pickering as the first of ten pilot community branches across the UK. The aim of the trial is to keep the last bank in the town open on the high street by tailoring it to local needs.
Barclays is working with customers in the town to help make the branch relevant to them. This will include reinstating local branch managers, investing in a fresh look and feel of the premises and a change to opening hours to include Saturdays.
The fact is local banks across the country have been closing because people are favouring online, mobile and telephone banking services but this leave a huge gap in towns, like Pickering, where, without Barclays, there would be no bank at all.
Richard Smalley, Head of Barclays Local, UK, said “We understand that customers want to manage their finances in different ways at different times, that’s why we’re planning to have specialists available in the pilot branches to support people with more complex financial needs such as buying a home, starting or growing a business, saving for university and planning for retirement. Our ambition is to work in direct partnership with the town to keep local branch based banking sustainable over the long term.”
Cheryl Chappell (pictured), who lives in Pickering, has been appointed as the first branch manager and is looking forward to welcoming both new and existing customers to the bank.
Barclays will be offering a range of additional services to support its customers which includes “Barclays Digital Eagles” on Saturdays which will provide in-branch activities such as helping to raise awareness of the skills to stay safe in a digital age, alongside colleague-led seminars to assist with ongoing financial management planning.
It’s great to see Barclays adapt and be flexible to the changing demands of customers by putting their needs first. I really hope the local community will support it because, if they don’t, there is a risk they could lose the last bank in Pickering for ever.