Yate will lose two bank branches in space of a month
THOUSANDS of bank customers are facing an even longer trip to their nearest counter after Barclays announced plans to leave Yate.
The branch in Yate Shopping Centre's North Parade will shut on July 22 – less than a month after another banking giant, HSBC, leaves the town.
Barclays is advising customers to visit its branches in Kingswood or Westbury-on-Trym, – which are between eight and 11 miles away – or use Yate's post office.
The news has come as a blow to customers like Karen Bidwell, of Coalpit Heath, who has used the Yate branch for up to 15 years, and says she will now switch to a different bank.
Barclays said in a letter to customers that more than 4,000 people used the branch more than three times a year.
Karen said: "Before the pandemic I would visit at least once a week.
"I have used online banking while I have been shielding during covid but with the increase in the number of scams, and with my card having been cloned, I am a bit loath to do that now.
"I like to deal with cash where possible, because it helps me keep control of my money. If you can see what you’ve got then you are more likely to be careful with it.
"If I go to a branch I know what’s going in and coming out."
The bank had cut its opening hours, which Karen said restricted the number of people who could use the branch.
She said: "It is not surprising that the number of customers has reduced – and yet there are often queues of people outside, largely because there is often only one person serving at the counter.”
Karen is now planning to switch to “another bank that wants my custom”.
She said: "I’m not going to allow a bank to profit from my money when it can’t even provide a local branch for me to use."
A Barclays spokesperson said: “The decision to close a branch is never an easy one. However, customers are increasingly using alternatives to branches to do their banking. As a result, we are seeing a sustained fall in branch visits across the UK.
“This is reflected at the Yate branch, where there has been a 19 per cent reduction in counter transactions in the two years to March 2020.
"In addition, more than four fifths of our customers at the branch are also using different ways to bank."
Barclays says no-one will lose their job as a result of the Yate closure, with staff offered new roles elsewhere within the organisation.
Earlier this year HSBC announced it would be closing its branch in North Walk on June 25.
Karen has raised the issue with Thornbury & Yate MP Luke Hall, who said the closure would be "disappointing" for residents.