And then there was one... another bank closes down

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YET another bank is closing its doors in Emsworth.

The imminent closure of Barclays follows Lloyds shutting last month and Nationwide Building Society last year.

It means only NatWest remains in the town and residents and businesspeople are angry.

Barclays put it down to a decline in customers and changes in the way people use banks – using telephone and internet instead.

But Peter McIntyre, the landlord of The Coal Exchange in South Street, says it is a huge inconvenience.

He said: ‘We do our banking at Barclays and now we are going to have to go into Havant.

‘That will take more time out of our day and the parking in Havant isn’t fantastic.

‘A lot of our customers changed from Lloyds to Barclays when they announced it was closing.

‘And the library is going to be moved too. This was once a great village but it seems to be going downhill.’

Giles Babb, chairman of Emsworth Business Association, said he was very disappointed with Barclays’ decision, from both a business point of view and on behalf of residents.

But he added: ‘It’s in line with the trend of banking now, a lot of people don’t use their branches.

‘I don’t think Emsworth is going to be unique in losing its banks.

‘Hopefully we’re not going to lose NatWest and we still have the Post Office.’

The bank in High Street will close on December 12.

A Barclays spokesperson said the closure was a reaction to the changing banking habits of customers.

In a statement they said: ‘In response to this change in customer behaviour we must evolve our business to meet their needs.

‘At Barclays in Emsworth usage is declining and around 70 per cent of customers regularly use alternative branches.

‘This is why we have taken the difficult decision to close the branch.’

It continued: ‘Our two colleagues at Barclays in Emsworth have been consulted about the changes and will transfer to other branches nearby.

‘In addition to the option of online, telephone and mobile banking customers can undertake everyday transactions at any Post Office with the closest being at 2 High Street, Emsworth, a short walk from the branch.’