A reader asks: Should we campaign to keep the Barclays branch in Lewes?
A TTL supporter recently wrote in to ask if TTL could help campaign to stop another bank branch – Barclays – disappearing in Lewes. Here is their letter and our response, written by TTL’s Ann Link
Hello All at Transition Town Lewes,
As a local resident, I am wondering if there are people like myself who are dismayed at the imminent closure of Barclays Bank Lewes.
Having a face-to face dialogue with a bank employee is very important, especially as our lives are getting more and more complicated and very often the first port of call is the bank. Yes, there is an online service and a telephone service, but since the pandemic as we all know, communication is much slower. This can be very frustrating.
We have also to think that scams and data stealing from mobile phones is on the rise. Not all of us want to have a Barclays App on our phones. If you go into the bank, the CC TV cameras know who you are and transactions and cash withdrawals take place in a protected area. Older people will find it very difficult to operate their banking online, on their mobile phones, videos etc.
I really do think that the decision to close should be delayed, so that we can all have a discussion about what services we want from our banks. In this period especially of the unexpected continuation of the Covid 19 threat, people need time to re-assess, feel safe and re-consider change.
Ann Link replies:
Barclays seem to be shutting a lot of their branches: Seaford’s branch is going too. I think being able to bank in person is very important, for all the reasons you give. Also, banks have actually become less localised over the years, even when branches stay open, with decisions on lending being done remotely by computer, rather than being based on knowing the individual.
I have very mixed feelings about Barclays and the other big banks: they are known to be financing oil and gas exploration, and even new coal mines. In view of the extreme emergency of acting on climate – see https://transitiontownlewes.org/turn-off-carbon-tap/ – we should not be supporting banks that do that, and Barclays is the worst in Europe.
See: https://www.bigissue.com/latest/environment/is-your-bank-funding-fossil-fuels-find-out-with-this-free-tool/ for example. They often claim to aiming for net zero carbon emissions, but this doesn’t seem to include their investment arms. Companies wanting to explore and profit from new oil wells etc have to borrow to fund themselves before production can start – so Barclays is making it easy for them.https://www.ran.org/bankingonclimatechaos2021/#score-card-panel
Nationwide (which has premises in Lewes), Triodos, and the Co-op (which has a branch in Brighton) are among more ethical banks. See https://www.moneyexpert.com/current-account/ethical-banking/ andhttps://www.ethicalconsumer.org/money-finance/banks-climate-change-environmental-crisis to learn more.
Personally, I hope that people will take Barclays’ closure as an opportunity to help stop funding climate change.