Saturday, 2 November 2019

The bank is closing

the branch in our local shopping centre.
That means there will no longer be a bank in the shopping centre. Some limited services will be available at the Post Office.
This is not service at all. Some years ago there were four banks. Over that time I have used all of them for once purpose or another. The first to go was the bank I use. It was not their choice to go. The building was bought and the site is now another supermarket we didn't really need. (I am not sure how well this particular supermarket is doing either.) That was an incredibly busy branch but developer's profit was more important than the community's need for the bank.
The next to go was the "State" bank. It had one of those old-fashioned buildings all to itself. Although it was opposite the community library and well used it first cut the number of hours it operated.  Then, over a year ago, it closed too. The building is still vacant. (The building is not that big but there is car parking at the rear.) I had occasion to go in there more than once for elderly people who had always used that bank.
That left two banks. One was on the main road which could be accessed via the shopping centre car park. The people in there were pleasant and knew me because I did the banking for more than one older person. It never seemed very busy so I was not surprised when it closed too.
And now, the last bank is closing. It is the bank the Senior Cat uses. At almost 97 he is wary of doing everything by computer and card. He dislikes ATMs. He still writes the occasional cheque. I have been going into his bank of late to do his banking. He tells me not to use the ATM.  Indeed the ATM cannot do what I need to do for him.  It will mean pedalling a considerable distance - about thirty minutes in each direction - to the nearest branch of his bank.
I am not impressed. 
I can do that if I need to do it but I should not need to do it. The situation will be far worse for the many elderly people in the district who are not able to get to a bank and find it difficult - for one reason or another - to use a teller machine. The Post Office will not be putting on extra staff and won't be able to do everything these people need.
It will also affect all the businesses in the shopping centre, some of whom had already changed banks because other banks closed their branches. Not that many months ago they were being told there was "no chance" this branch would also be closed.
 Should we simply be doing everything by card and computer? I am told that this is the way things are going. I could do that now.
But there is something that really bothers me about all this. It means that the capacity to spy on us and very precisely know how and where we spend our money will increase dramatically. It isn't that I spend money on anything illegal. I don't. The vast majority of people don't but giving businesses that information and the potential for commercial espionage is alarming. We won't be better off with fewer services and bigger supermarkets.
People will just become more isolated.

1 comment:

jeanfromcornwall said...

The closing of banks is happening all over the place in this country too, and it makes a big problem for a lot of people. You would think they didn't want our custom - just our money. I may be wide of the mark, but I always understood that banks were part of the service sector. So service to themselves maybe, but not to their customers.