Nobody is listening to us. Not the banks, financial services, and not the government. Especially not the government! Maybe the bright young things aged 20-30 who advise the government on their policies do not realise that the largest percentage of the population is over 50 – the older person’s label.
How many times have we written articles, had workshops/events/conferences with the banks and financial services highlighting the need for them to consider the needs of all the community including older people? Are they listening? Obviously not.
Banks and Building Societies are becoming increasingly invisible. This is particularly hard on rural communities who may only have a bus once a week to the nearest town/facility. If that is taken away… their Post Office may not do banking and they may be in a black spot preventing online banking. What do they do then?
What are the stats? Over the past 2 years – 1046 branches have been closed. HSBC is due to close 117 branches. Yorkshire Building Society is axing 48 branches over the next 18 months. In fact it appears that only the Nationwide Building Society is keeping its present network of branches.
More than 400 branches have been closed or are due to close with 2017 set to be a record year for the number of branches closing. Banks say that the public no longer want to use face-to-face services – especially younger members of society who do online or phone banking and never need to see anyone. But what do they do when they need an advisor on their finances? Is it all done online or by text? Who did they ask to get the evidence that no-body wants face-to-face services?!
Will the Post Office fill the gap? Well there is a chance – if the government doesn’t have a brainstorm and close them all, as has been mentioned!
The Post Office has already responded to the banking shutdown by increasing its banking services to commercial and personal customers, by including cash withdrawals, balance enquiries, as well as cash and cheque deposits.
This is good, but we need direct debit facilities and standing orders, as many bills are paid this way to enable a discount. Some branches of the Post Office are open on a Sunday and many have cash machines. To ensure the Post Offices keep open – please promote and use your local Post Office!
It is even more of a pity in the present climate that the Campaign for Community Banking Services has been ditched. The idea was sponsored by charities and small business groups and it was a place that people of all banks could use. This made a lot of sense as at least one banking facility would be available in all towns and villages. However, due to the greed and inward thinking of the banks this ideas was scuppered – they refused to sign up on competition grounds.
Apart from not thinking of their customers, what about the staff?! This will cause mass unemployment of highly skilled staff – what sort of job opportunities will now be open to them? What provision is being made to retrain the staff or will they all be moved to W.H. Smith which is swallowing up all our Post Offices?
Apart from the fact that this is a charter for fraud and scams – shouldn’t the way you do your banking be a personal choice? I know I wouldn’t go near online banking after a friend of mine had her bank account wiped out.
Banks keep telling us that it is safe, but we are constantly hearing of further scams/fraud costing billions of pounds through the use of online banking. Weren’t Metro Bank customers told how safe it was until it was hacked and all their details were taken?
So we make another plea to the banks and building societies – remember that many of us prefer face-to-face exchanges.
There are lists of the places the banks and building societies are closing – is yours? Do let us know in the comments below.