Barclays has served Hadleigh for almost 200 years – but the bank has confirmed it will close the town’s branch this summer.
Local customers reacted with disappointment after Barclays announced it will shut the outlet in High Street on June 1, citing a decline in usage, with only 154 people identified as using the branch exclusively for their banking.
The bank has sent out letters seeking to reassure customers, stating they will be proactively engaging with the community to address concerns and discuss other ways of banking.
Kathryn Kitson, community banking director for Barclays in Norfolk and Suffolk, said: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices.
“At the branch in Hadleigh, customer usage has continued to decline and more than 77 per cent of the customers of the branch are already using online, mobile or telephone banking.
“We hope that the availability of branches in Ipswich and Manningtree, and access to services at the nearby post office, along with our range of digital channels, will help to ease the transition for our customers.”
Barclays confirmed there will be no redundancies as a result of the closure, as staff will be offered positions at neighbouring branches.
The bank added that it had not taken the decision lightly, and will be hosting ‘tea-and-teach’ sessions in the town to educate people on the alternatives to branch banking.
But Hadleigh residents have lamented the announcement, with some claiming the branch is regularly busy, while others accused Barclays of exacerbating the problem by encouraging more customers to bank online.
Joanne Mitchell posted on Facebook: “Every time I went in, I was asked about online banking and my reply was always the same ... no, thank you.
“If everyone banks online, then the branches become obsolete. Looks like I was right. It’s a shame a few more people didn’t see the bigger picture.”
Luke Mahoney wrote: “There is always a queue when I go there. This is such a load of old rubbish. I’ve only lived here a couple of years, yet have used it many times. The staff are awesome and helpful. This is a sad day.”
Vicki Glazier commented: “Whenever you go into banks now, they always push you to use a machine or tell you that you can do certain services online.
“It’s cost-cutting, plain and simple. They want you to use online so they no longer need to pay for buildings or staff.”
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge said he was disappointed, and asked residents to share their views with him by emailing email@example.com.
He wants people to give their thoughts on how the closure will impact customers and the Hadleigh community, and what the bank has to do to help them adapt to the change.
“It’s very disappointing to hear that Barclays is going to close its branch in Hadleigh,” said Mr Cartlidge.
“I had a letter from the regional manager and I am going to try to access what the impact will be through social media to see what people think.
“A lot of people cannot connect to internet banking and the coverage is poor and virtually non-existent for some in what is a rural constituency.”