Concerns raised for elderly as Knebworth’s Barclays branch set to close

Barclays in Knebworth is closing in December.

Barclays in Knebworth is closing in December. - Credit: Archant

A branch of Barclays bank is set to close in December, sparking concern for elderly customers who rely on the service.

The London Road, Knebworth, branch is shutting because of a steady drop in the number of customers using the branch, with a four per cent fall in transactions last year alone.

More than 70 per cent of customers already use other branches, according to bank officials.

Terry Staff, Barclays’ community leader for Hertfordshire, said: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, phone and mobile devices.

“We must evolve the shape and size of our branch network in response to changing customer behaviour.”

The news follows an announcement in July that NatWest in Stevenage High Street will close next month, while Lloyds in the Old Town has reduced its opening hours to just two days per week.

A spokesman for Age UK said: “A combination of bank and building society closures, and the industry’s growing reliance on online services, mean access has become increasingly difficult for many older people.

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“Over a third of older people have mobility problems, making travelling long distances to their nearest branch difficult. Almost 15 per cent have limited dexterity, which means it is hard to use the internet, while 4.8 million people aged 65 and over have never been online.

“It’s essential banks take into account the needs of the growing population of older people.”

Mr Staff added: “We hope the availability of nearby branches in Stevenage, Welwyn and Hertford, access to services at the local post office, and our range of digital channels will help to ease the transition.

“We do not take the decision to close any branch lightly.

“All of our customers will receive a letter, posters will be displayed in branch, and colleagues will be on hand to assist customers with any concerns they may have.”