11 Aug ‘Human beings are social animals and much prefer interacting with real people, rather than machines’ Stalham hits back at banks’ closure threat
Closing Stalham’s two bank branches would make rural deprivation worse and severely let down loyal customers, according to worried town councillors.
Barclays plans to shut its High Street branch on September 25 and Natwest, on the opposite side of the road, on December 3.
Both say there has been a marked fall in customers visiting their branches coupled with a large increase in the popularity of online banking.
The council agreed to send a letter, penned by chairman Duncan Edmonds, to the chief of each bank.
In the letter Dr Edmonds says many people in the area do not have the knowledge or means to access the internet. Many do not drive and public transport is poor, so they are unable to travel to banks in other towns.
“The dehumanising of essential services such as banking undermines the social fabric and increases rural isolation,” the letter says.
“Human beings are social animals and much prefer interacting with real people, rather than machines.”
Councillors are also concerned about the damaging effect of the closures on other businesses in the High Street.
They ask for the banks to work together and provide one branch in each small town.
The letter ends: “Customer goodwill is surely something to be treasured above efficiency and profit alone. Please revisit your plans and hopefully bring some relief to our town.”
The letter follows one written on Stalham’s behalf by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb who also calls for the decisions to be reversed.
Bank customers will be able to carry out some transactions at Stalham Post Office and councillor Pauline Grove-Jones said a hand-written notice had appeared there, saying: “Do your banking business here”.
But councillors said the Post Office was already crowded, with people queueing to post ebay parcels.
Dr Edmonds feared the Post Office would be overwhelmed with the extra custom.
this news story was provided by great yarmouth mercury