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ANGER OVER CLOSURES OF RURAL BANKS

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The announcement by Barclays Bank to close 26 branches, mainly in small towns and villages in the north east and no...
The announcement by Barclays Bank to close 26 branches, mainly in small towns and villages in the north east and north Yorkshire has sparked outrage among the local population, reported The Northern Echo (26 Feb, p1).

Bank officials said the branches were too small and had outlived their usefulness in the face of telephone banking and the internet.

But John Shuttleworth, a member of Durham CC, is leading calls for a bank boycott. He urged people to protest to Barclays' new chief executive Matthew Barrett.

'If they don't change their mind then I think people should take their custom elsewhere,' he said.

Alan Napier, leader of Easington DC, said it would be seeking a meeting with local MP John Cummings and representatives from Barclays. He said: 'The banks have a role to play within the wider community. We have an increasingly ageing population, many of whom have probably banked locally all their lives.'

Glyn Bateman of the Countryside Agency, warned the decision would have a knock-on effect for rural businesses. 'For all the talk of telephone banking and the internet, rural areas are usually the last places to benefit and the first to suffer,' he said.

Barclays said it regretted the decision. A spokesman said: 'This is about having branches in places where they are used the most. Of course, that comes as scant consolation to local people who lose their bank, but we have to satisfy as many poeple as we can with finite resources.'

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