Banks in Harrow such as HSBC, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland have all announced permanent closures, leaving the borough with less branches than ever before.
Recently, HSBC announced the closure of 69 branches across the UK, including the one in Pinner. This was followed by the announcement that Barclays in Pinner is also due to close. In addition, RBS in Harrow Town Centre and NatWest in Ruislip will also be closing their doors for good.
People that rely on in-branch banking, particularly pensioners, have been left with concerns about access to money, and will need to rely on younger friends and family members to help them with online banking.
Harrow Online Group members have been discussing their feelings about the recent closure announcements:
“Haven’t been into a bank for years, haven’t written a cheque in years. Don’t even carry a wallet or cash any more. Banks are obsolete for most, so if they can cut unnecessary overheads and reduce excessive fees that would be handy.”
“I feel this is a very selfish and only economically motivated way of thinking. I do go into the bank regularly and prefer to discuss my finances face to face and not with someone who lives on the other side of the world and I have difficulty following their accent. My father lived the last 15 years of his live alone and struggled to do the cash machines as the fingers of older people and disabled people are not so dexterous and have difficulty using the touch screen options. We do still have at least another 20 years of people who did not grow up with computers and struggle to keep up with the online banking. I do as I do not own much IT equipment as I prefer to talk to people and a phone can only do so much. We are the customers and the needs of all of us should be met!.”
”They want a cashless society that’s why all the banks have been closing everywhere not just Harrow.”
”Disgraceful, I prefer cash and dealing with humans.”
“It is not only the older generation who need a bank. I regularly do cash collections and need a physical bank to pay the cash into. Also if we do have a bank they have very limited opening times at the weekend. No use when I work full time!!”
”My elderly father had his card swallowed by an atm because he couldn’t take his card out on time. Recently, it was reported that a man in Harrow had his money taken at a cash point in a distraction theft. Banks can be safer and easier to use.”
“Tragic. People who have language/hearing difficulties and disabilities or who dnt have access to WiFi or devices are screwed and will have to que up at larger branches.”
“The banks in Pinner had reasonable waiting times. Yet in central Harrow, you could be waiting up to an hour. It’s appalling that they are doing this as a lot of people don’t like doing online banking or wouldn’t even know how to.”
“There used to be 6 banks /building societies in Wealdstone now there are none. If you need cash you can go to the post office but if you need other transactions and can’t go online you have to go into Harrow. Difficult for elderly and disabled people.”
“Sometimes large companies lose sight of the people who use their services and only see things in terms of profit and loss. There are so many varied reasons why customers prefer dealing with real people, and probably an equal number of reasons why banks want to close. Perhaps a cost effective and caring approach might be that all the banks share one building to provide the face to face service that some customers want, and keep the costs down to appease the financial markets.”