Barclays customers in Hove will have to do their in-person banking from a van in a local graveyard as the bank closes its last branch in the area next week.
The bank is making an effort to maintain face-to-face banking services in Hove following the closure of its Church Road branch, which is scheduled for December 8, with customers able to speak to bank staff once a week in its visiting “Barclays van”.
The van is temporarily being stationed in a graveyard close to the soon-to-be-closed branch, as the bank has been unable to find anywhere else to park the vehicle for free.
The bank has been given permission from the vicar of St Andrew’s Dan Henderson to station its van in the graveyard every Monday from 10am to 3pm.
Barclays has shut more than 1,000 branches since 2015, replacing them with mobile or remote branches in different locations.
Frosts Garden Centre near Milton Keynes and South Northumberland Cricket Club are among 250 sites hosting a string of new “Barclays Locals” pop-in centres, which the bank started offering limited banking services to customers a few days a week in July.
Customers can open bank accounts, apply for mortgages, and discuss power of attorney arrangements at several novel locations including Keswick Museum in Cumbria, The Chapel arts centre in Ormskirk, Lancs, and the Helston Cattle Market in Cornwall.
The bank has also set up 10 banking “pods” across the country, which are structures in shopping centre car parks and retail parks.
A Barclays spokesperson said its graveyard visits are only temporary while it searches for another location.
They said: “As visits to branches continue to fall, with the majority of people preferring to bank online, we need to adapt to provide the best service for all our customers.
“This is reflected at Hove, where we are delivering new ways to support our customers and the community with options for those who need in-person services.
“We plan for the Barclays van to visit one day a week, a cashless banking alternative where customers can meet a colleague face-to-face for a variety of support, as they would in a branch and without the need to travel.
“We have worked with the local community and council to source a suitable location to park the van and the church is currently the only option available and is fully supportive of our presence.”
Barclays’ search for a new location for its mobile bank comes after a number of increases in the cost of parking in Brighton and Hove. Plans for further substantial increases under the Green Party backfired when day trippers were put off from visiting and were later scrapped by Labour which took over leadership of the council this year.
Barclays is also mulling plans to axe thousands of clients from its investment bank as it targets £1bn in cost cuts. The cost-cutting plan across its investment bank comes after it emerged last week that the lender was looking to reduce a number of “back office jobs” in its HR, legal, and compliance functions to save money.
Up to 2,000 roles have been earmarked for redundancy.
I’m furious with Barclays – I’m leaving after 70 years