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Barclays to keep Sheerness, Deal and Biggin Hill branches open

Barclays has promised to keep its Kent branches in Deal and Sheerness open for at least another two years.

In an announcement today the bank said it was ring-fencing more than 100 branches in remote areas or those with only one bank left in town until at least October 2021.

Barclays Bank, Broadway, Sheerness
Barclays Bank, Broadway, Sheerness

Both Deal and Sheerness are regarded as "remote" towns and Biggin Hill, which is also being saved, is one of its "last in town" branches.

The Broadway branch in Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey recently announced it was limiting its opening hours and closing on Wednesdays, which prompted fears for its future.

The town has already lost its HSBC branch but still retains Halifax, TSB, NatWest, and Nationwide Building Society.

The Deal branch is in Broad Street.

Barclays in Broad Street, Deal (18830975)
Barclays in Broad Street, Deal (18830975)

The bank is also trialling how it can work with customers and communities to increase demand to help threatened branches become more viable in the longer term.

Part of the trial will include flexible opening hours and extending video banking.

Barclays will also introduce a cash-back scheme enabling customers to withdraw cash at businesses in remote towns and areas where there is no branch or ATM alternative within 1km. This will launch in more than 200 locations from January.

Adam Rowse, managing director of branch-based banking at Barclays said: “We are constantly exploring new ways to evolve the role of the branch.

"By maintaining last-in-town or remote branches over the next two years and working with the community we hope to increase demand and keep these branches viable.

"We also recognise there are opportunities to support customers with access to cash where there is no branch or ATM nearby.

"We are launching a cash-back offering working with merchants to give customers access to cash over the counter.

"By behaving differently, we hope to see a real difference in how customers interact with us.”

Where the bank is no longer able to maintain a physical presence, Barclays says it will help with pop-up banking pods, providing face-to-face financial support and education at 300 locations by the end of 2021.

As the bank focuses its investment into free-to-use ATMs and cash-back at businesses it is reducing reliance on the Post Office.

But it insisted it remained committed to the Post Office and says it has increased funding in this area so customers and businesses can still pay in cash, cheques, and check their balance.

But over-the-counter cash withdrawals will end from January. Cash withdrawal by cheque will be available subject to arrangement.

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