POST OFFICE: BARCLAYS – DECISION TO DENY ITS CUSTOMER ACCESS TO CASH AT POST OFFICES
Today we have been alerted to a disappointing development in regard to Barclays’ decision to withdraw from the Banking Framework agreement with the Post Office, thus meaning that from 8th January 2020 customers with Barclays bank accounts will no longer be able to access cash at the nation’s 11,500 Post Offices. A link to the Daily Mail article with the following headline is below:
“Barclays bosses deliver blow to Post Offices by stopping savers from withdrawing cash from branches”
Worryingly, the article states “Barclays drove another nail into the Post Office network’s coffin – as it prepared to ban its savers from withdrawing cash at local branches”.
Also below is a link to a BBC news article:
Branches and our members will be only too acutely aware that bank branches have been closing at a rapid rate across the nation in recent years. According to Which, it is estimated that Barclays has closed 481 sites in the last 5 years which is a third of its network. At this stage, it is difficult to fully understand the real implications of this shocking decision by Barclays. However, we are particularly worried about the continued viability of Post Offices that specifically operate in areas where Barclays banks have closed in recent years, the impact of which could have a disproportionate effect on the ongoing sustainability of these particular Post Offices. Accordingly, it does bring into question the Post Office’s recent publicity surrounding increased fees for Postmasters performing cash withdrawing services. Consequently, we can well imagine many Postmasters being very worried about their future.
Rachel Reeves, Labour MP and Chair of the BEIS Select Committee has responded to this unwelcome development with the following statement – the full article is taken from DeHavilland (Political Research):
08 October 2019
Rachel Reeves, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has commented on the move by Barclays Bank to stop its customers withdrawing cash from post office branches.
* Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee Chair’s comments
Rachel Reeves, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee said:
“Barclays need to think again. Barclays unjustifiable decision to stop customers accessing their own money from post offices is a deeply retrograde step which lets down their customers, potentially leaving people in many places without access to their own cash, and which undermines the post office network.
“Access to free cash withdrawals at post offices is vital to people, especially those who are elderly and vulnerable, and this decision comes at a time when, across the banking sector, high-street branches are closing and free cash-points are under threat. It’s essential that to secure the future viability of the post office network and this decision from Barclays suggests they are forgetting their wider social responsibilities. The Business Committee has been examining the future of the post office, including looking at ways for the branches to provide more banking services, and we expect to come forward with a report and recommendations later this month.”
As part of its inquiry into the post office network, the Committee questioned (on 25th June), Minister Kelly Tolhurst and BEIS Department officials on issues around the provision of banking services in post offices and on the stability and viability of the national post office network. The session also examined the range of services offered, the franchising of Post Offices and problems facing sub-postmasters, the reduction of Government subsidies, and the long-term resilience of the service.
In the first session of this inquiry, the BEIS Committee questioned on 21st May witnesses from the Communication Workers Union, National Federation of Sub-Postmasters, WH Smith PLC, Association of Convenience Stores, and Post Office Ltd about a range of issues affecting the Post Office network.
CWU echoes the sentiments expressed by Rachel Reeves MP and is extremely disappointed with the situation whereby Barclays customers will effectively be denied access to cash via Post Offices. We will be considering this development further and as such will be talking to Gill Furniss, Shadow Post Office Minister to see what further
pressure can be placed on government, who in turn should call upon Barclays to reverse this appalling decision. Of course, all of this further demonstrates why it is absolutely necessary for the Post Office to establish and operate a Post Bank, which is a key and fundamental Labour Party policy.
Further developments will be reported.
If you have any questions in relation to this LTB, please contact Lea Sheridan – firstname.lastname@example.org.