Support banks which remain on our High Street says Charlie Davis 

By | April 9, 2024

Following NatWest’s announcement that it will be closing its Eltham branch, Conservative candidate for Eltham and Chislehurst, Charlie Davis is calling on residents to support banks or building societies which commit to retaining their branches on the High Street. 

Charlie is already actively campaigning for a banking hub to be introduced in Chislehurst where the last permanent banking presence was closed in May 2023.  He is fiercely aware of the possibility of Eltham becoming the latest town centre to lose all its banks.   

In Eltham, there has been a steady closure of bank branches with TSB going in 2020 followed by Barclays in Feb 2024 and most recently Natwest announcing its branch will close in August 2024.  This leaves Eltham with just two banks (Halifax and Santander) plus the Nationwide Building Society on the High Street. 

Who will suffer as a result of banks leaving Eltham High Street? 

Both the House of Lords and the House of Commons have looked at the impact on local communities of bank branches closing. The House Commons paper states that: 

“Research by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in 2022 found that the digitally excluded, older people, people in poor health, those with lower financial resilience and those with lower financial capability depend more on cash.” 

The Houe of Lords suggests that the groups impacted by branch closures include “people with disabilities, older people, those living in rural areas and small businesses.” 

So, it seems clear that a large number of Eltham’s residents and businesses will be impacted by the closure of our local banks, and it is vital we do all that we can to encourage those banks and building societies which retain a place on our High Street to stay there. 

What can we do to encourage banks to stay open on Eltham High Street? 

The number of bank branches across the UK has fallen steadily over the years and there is a growing movement to suggest that further closures are inevitable.

The Nationwide Building Society has recently stood against this trend, and committed to retaining all branches until 2028 which is welcome, but this is a business decision and could change if people stop banking with them.  This is true for the other two banks which remain open on the High Street. 

So, if Eltham residents do wish to retain a bank or building society presence on our High Street it is vital that we shift our accounts to the companies which retain a presence locally and tell them why we are doing it.  It is reasonably easy to switch accounts and the guidance for the three remaining banks is below: 

Discussing his campaign to support Eltham’s High Street bank branches, Charlie commented “It is no longer difficult to switch bank accounts and it is really important to send a message to the remaining banks that keeping their Eltham branches open isn’t just the right thing to do, but it will also provide them with more business.” 

“If you are a Barclays customer where the branch closed recently or a Natwest customer where the closure is coming soon it feels important to send a clear message to the banks about what we want as consumers. Even if you don’t visit a bank branch regularly, I would ask you to consider switching your account as I feel it is important to send a message to the banks on behalf of our small businesses and those with limited access to the internet, especially older people or others who have a greater reliance on cash.” 

“If I am elected to Parliament at the next General Election, I will be active on the issue of retaining banking services and cash machines in our town centres.  The Government can’t do everything, but they can be proactive in bringing banks together to avoid communities like Eltham and Chislehurst being left without access to vital banking and other financial services.” 

Charlie’s letter to Natwest about the closure of its branch on Eltham High Street can be seen below:

Charlie’s letter to the banks which retain branches on Eltham High Street is below:

Category: Eltham High Street

About Spencer Drury

Spencer was one of the three Councillors for Eltham North Ward between 2002 and 2022. He lost his Council seat in the May 2022 elections and now occasionally contributes to debates on local issues.

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