Local MP says bank branch closures are leaving residents in north-east of Enfield struggling to access financial services, reports James Cracknell
Local residents are finding it “consistently more difficult” to access cash points and banking facilities in Hertford Road, according to Enfield North MP Feryal Clark.
The Labour MP says the recent closure of the Barclays Bank branch in Enfield Wash and impending closure this August of the Santander branch in Enfield Highway will “further entrench the socio-economic divides we see across the borough”.
It will mean that, aside from two post offices, the 2.5-mile stretch of Hertford Road between the Southbury Road junction in Ponders End and the Enfield borough border in Freezywater will be devoid of bank branches. Many of the remaining cash points available in the area charge for withdrawals.
Feryal said: “Many small, local, independent businesses still rely on cash, alongside many people, particularly older people, who struggle to access online banking and need physical banking support.
“While I understand the needs for banks to keep up with developments in digital technology, they still hold a degree of social responsibility towards the communities they have served.
“No-one should feel penalised or ignored for not having the technology required to access the latest developments in online banking.”
The Barclays branch in Enfield Wash closed last May. The bank stated at the time that the number of transactions had gone down in the previous two years and that 89% of branch customers “use other ways to do their banking such as online and by telephone”. It added that just 38 customers had been using the branch exclusively for their banking.
Santander, explaining the reasons for closing its Enfield Highway branch, similarly stated that 89% of customers “already use a variety of ways to complete their banking” and that just 106 customers were exclusively using the branch. The next nearest Santander bank is in Enfield Town, 2.7 miles away.
Feryal has now launched a consultation with her Enfield North constituents to gather more information about the difficulties people have accessing financial services. She added: “I want to see community banking and cash access facilities which work for our local community.”
Take part in Feryal’s banking survey: