Villagers stunned by bank shutdown

SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

RESIDENTS and businesses in Corbridge have been left reeling by the announcement that the village’s only remaining bank is set to close.

The Barclays branch in the Market Place will close its doors for the final time on Friday, November 10.

The news comes after Lloyds closed its Corbridge branch in March.

Many locals expressed their shock at the news about losing the Barclays branch, which currently opens between 9.30am and 4.30pm four days a week.

Former parish councillor David Walton, was one of many villagers to receive a letter on Friday, advising him of the closure.

“I can’t understand the thinking when Corbridge is a growing community with plenty of businesses and visitors who rely on the bank and the cash machine.”

It’s understood the 24-hour cash machine will also be lost in November – with the only alternative ATM found inside the village’s Co-op supermarket on Hill Street.

County councillor for Corbridge, Nick Oliver, said the bank’s elderly and business customers would suffer.

“Barclays says 62 per cent of customers are now using other branches, but it doesn’t say how frequently, and that still leaves 38 per cent who rely on it.

“The business community in Corbridge seems to be thriving at the moment. The local economy is very much reliant on visitors and that tourism industry is reliant on cash. It doesn’t make sense to me and I know a lot of people are concerned about it.”

Coun. Oliver said he would ask the bank to reconsider its position.

The district has suffered a string of bank losses in recent years, including Alston’s branches of Barclays and HSBC in 2015, Bellingham’s branches of Barclays in December 2015 and Lloyds in March and, most recently, the Hexham branch of NatWest in July.

A spokeswoman for Barclays said three staff at Corbridge would be relocated and that the building, which is leased by the bank, would be put on the market.

“At Barclays Corbridge, customer usage has continued to decline and 62 per cent of our customers now regularly use alternative branches,” she said.

“We hope that the availability of our other Barclays branch in Hexham, and access to services at the local post office in Corbridge, along with our range of digital channels, will help to ease the transition for our customers.”

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