Barclays is launching a new trial in Risca and Tredegar, focused on working with the local community to keep the last bank in town open on the high street.
Twelve pilot branches across the UK will take part in the trial, beginning with Risca and Tredegar in Wales. The trial will see Barclays work with customers and communities differently to help make their branches more relevant for them. Local branch managers will be re-instated, investment into the look and feel of the branch premises, and a change of opening hours to include Saturdays will all begin.
Barclays is hoping the trial will encourage the community to switch their banking to keep the last in town branch open, so that the bank can work in direct partnership with the town in the ambition to keep local branch banking sustainable over the long term.
Richard Smalley, Head of Barclays Local, UK, said:
“In Risca & Tredegar, we believe there is real appetite amongst businesses and the local community to support us in keeping the branch open, whilst acknowledging that many customers are choosing alternative ways to undertake their banking such as mobile, online and telephony services. In order to keep the Pickering branch open, we’re asking the community to get behind us and speak to us for more information.”
“We also 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.”
Lise Winstone, has been appointed in a newly created branch manager role and is looking forward to welcoming both new and existing customers to the branch.
Barclays Digital Eagles will be available on Saturdays offering 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.
Chris Evans MP for Islwyn, welcomes the trial and said:
It is so important for local residents in Risca to have access to bank branches. I’m pleased to see that Barclays is taking maintaining its branch network so seriously’.”
The bank has also promised not to close branches in remote areas, or where it is the last bank in town for the next two years, as part of its commitment to the communities in which it operates. This will see over 100 branches ring-fenced and remain open until at least October 2021. Across Wales these include Bargoed, Builth Wells, Brecon, Caernarfon, Lampeter, Llandeilo, Llangollen, Porthmadog, Pwllheli, Risca, Tenby, Tredegar, Treorchy, Welshpool and Ystrad Mynach
Other initiatives Barclays is considering to support customer’s banking needs include introducing a more flexible presence or ‘pop-up’ locations enabling Barclays to have a presence in offices, universities and colleges, community centres and more rural communities, in line with the changing demands of where customers choose to do their banking.