“More than 120 MPs have accused Barclays of abandoning its most vulnerable customers amid a growing backlash over the bank’s move to stop its savers withdrawing cash from post offices.
In a damning letter to chief executive Jes Staley, the MPs criticised the bank for the ‘retrograde decision’, which they warned will only add to the ‘cash crisis’.
The politicians, co-ordinated by Labour MP Chris Elmore, urged the bank to reconsider and offered to meet American Mr Staley.
The Daily Mail has been calling on the banking giant to reverse its decision and has encouraged readers affected by it to write to Barclays.
The 124 MPs said they were ‘extremely disappointed’ by Barclays. Their letter said: ‘Quite simply, amidst the current uncertainty many people face around access to cash and wider banking services, this decision appears to be a retrograde step which will impact your poorest customers hardest.
‘It sends a message – rightly or wrongly – that those who cannot properly access the digital economy will have the carpet dragged from under their feet as our high street banks continue to abandon the communities that have sustained them for decades.’
Barclays faced a huge backlash after announcing it would stop its customers from withdrawing cash at post offices in January. The decision is estimated to save the bank £7 million a year, and comes after 3,312 high street bank and building society branches closed their doors between January 2015 and August this year.
At least 481 were Barclays branches, according to the consumer group Which?.
Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which?, said: ‘Barclays has shown real disregard to the needs of its customers through its reckless move to cease cash withdrawals from the Post Office. MPs are right to challenge this ill-conceived decision that risks leaving many of their constituents facing an uphill struggle just to access the cash they need.
In a damning letter to chief executive Jes Staley, the MPs criticised the bank for the ‘retrograde decision’, over the bank’s move to stop its savers withdrawing cash from post offices, which they warned will only add to the ‘cash crisis’
‘We’re calling on the Government to urgently intervene with legislation that protects cash for as long as it is needed.’
Free-to-use cash machines are also disappearing at an alarming rate. Some 500 were closed every month last year, according to the ATM network Link.
The Access To Cash Review, an independent investigation into the cash crisis, found that about 17 per cent of the UK’s adult population – 8 million people – would find it difficult to function in a cashless society.
Natalie Ceeney, chairman of the Access To Cash Review, said: ‘As [the Daily Mail] has pointed out, this is affecting customers across the country especially those who are older, poorer, living in a remote area or may be disabled. This will be filling up MPs’ postbags, so I’m glad to see widespread support for the campaign.’
Banking trade body UK Finance has repeatedly directed customers who do not live near cash machines or bank branches to the 11,500 post offices across the country which offer everyday banking services. Barclays was also sending out this message as recently as June.
A petition urging Barclays to reverse the decision had nearly 9,500 signatures last night. …”