‘Shift to online banking’ behind decision to close village bank branch

Barclays bank, in Main Street, Littleport.Picture: GOOGLE.

Barclays bank, in Main Street, Littleport.Picture: GOOGLE. - Credit: Archant

The branch of Barclays bank in Littleport is set to close after a shift to online banking caused a slump in footfall.

According to Barclays, the Main Street branch has experienced a 63 per cent drop in customers since 2008, primarily due to people shifting their banking online.

As a result, Barclays said it had to “evolve” the shape of its business to suit the changing habits of customers.

The branch will close on Friday, October 9. Staff at the branch have been offered employment at other Barclays branches.

Kathryn Kitson, Barclays community leader for North West Anglia, said: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices.

“We must therefore evolve the shape and size of our branch network in response to changing customer behaviour.

“At Barclays Littleport branch, customer usage has declined by 63 per cent since 2008 and 80 per cent of customers now regularly use alternative branches, which is why we have taken the difficult decision to close the branch.

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“Our colleagues at the Barclays Littleport branch have been consulted about the change and will be given the opportunity to work at a nearby branch.

“We do not take the decision to close any branch lightly and we are committed to adhering to the new UK Government protocol on branch closures. All of our customers will receive a letter, posters will be displayed in branch and colleagues will be on hand to assist customers with any concerns they may have. We will be proactively engaging with local businesses and the wider community to discuss the alternative ways customers will be able to undertake their banking locally.”

Littleport resident Garth McGowen lamented the news, he said: “It is the only bank in Littleport, is open for four days a week only, and, at a time when Littleport is trying to expand and attract new business, the closure sends out quite the wrong message.

“As someone who is an ‘outsider’ I find it very odd that a community of 8,000 people can have so few services. It is difficult enough for shopkeepers but the loss of the only bank is, I feel, a step too far.”