Well from someone who hasn’t used in branch banking for some years now, this news is hardly surprising even with Covid 19:
I do feel huge sympathy with those that will lose their jobs. I myself have just been made redundant due wholly to the economic downturn in the industry I was working in. I’m fortunate that I have a monthly pension, but many do not and it will be tough.
As for branch banking, it will whether people like it or not, become less and less. As I say, I and my Wife included, just don’t use branches at all anymore because quite frankly, standing in a queue to do the most mundane of things is just a complete waste of time for us personally.
Sorry to hear that @Topsy2. Hope you are OK - not just in the financial sense, redundancy is an absolutely horrible experience and I hope you have the support you need and feel able to do whatever you need/want to do next.
I myself was selected for redundancy last month, and only very narrowly dodged that particular bullet. It was pretty rough all round.
As for the co-op bank…
It’s not unexpected, Covid or no Covid, the ‘branch on every highstreet’ business model is just not sustainable in the world of mobile and browser-based banking.
But it’s rough for anyone who works in that industry and I feel bad for them.
Suspect we will hear a lot more of this in the coming months. Covid will provide a welcome opportunity for banks who want to do-away with their expensive branch networks but didn’t want the bad publicity.
There are so many job losses and business closures right now that even when you do hit the headlines you know the story will be replaced by another similar story soon after.
Thank you for the kind words. Thankfully, I’m extremely mentally robust. Almost 30 years of ‘ahem’ Government service, I’m capable more than most to ride the emotional turmoil that many would feel in such a situation. I’ll be ‘jobless’ for a while, but hey, the bills are still getting paid. I’m clearly pleased for you that you ‘dodged that bullet’ and I hope all round that things get back to some form of ‘normal’ even if it is now, ‘the new normal’.
Specifically in the case of Co-op bank, you have to think that the remaining branches, while perhaps having a reprieve by not being included in these cuts, are not likely to be a long term concern - with a vastly reduced network, there must come a point where they decide to go online only?
There is also the rumour that the owners are touting the bank for sale - in which case it’s pretty unlikely anybody else would want the branches, it would probably be more of a “selling the customer book” kind of scenario.
When I was with co-op branches were few and far between anyway. It’s hard to imagine them having even less and bothering to have any. It’s definitely not suited to the branchless model though. The majority of customers were post retirement age and withdrawing cash at the counter, much to my frustration.
I think I’ve mentioned before on another thread, the only time I attended a branch was back when I opened my account (I was required to for some reason even though I have accounts with many banks and almost never had trouble with online verification before).
When I was there, I did notice that the clientele, to put it delicately, seemed to be exactly as you describe. However, I came away thinking it was a surprisingly pleasant experience; when I had first gone in I had been offered an appointment to come back later and sort out the application in a private room which was good. Later on, when this was done, I was seen with all my documents, etc and although a systems error forced them to complete a fresh in-branch application (urgh!) this was done about as quickly as could possibly be expected and with almost no input from me. The member of staff simply printed out the details of my original online application and then re-keyed them into the computer as an in-branch application, copying off the sheet of paper. This seemed like a good way to get around inflexible and poor IT! They were very apologetic about it too. Unprompted, it was suggested I complain about it for the inconvenience and I later did, using the secure messaging system, and got about £20 in compensation. I didn’t want to push it so I accepted that and felt it was fair.
Everybody in the branch was extremely courteous and polite, and I was even offered a cup of tea at my appointment (which I politely declined). I probably wouldn’t have bothered if there hadn’t been a switching incentive at the time, but it was well worth it as it happened. Plus, since then, I have continued to use the account for Everyday Rewards. So my experience has only been positive, if a bit lacking in IT.
I agree, though, that their IT seems to struggle and is probably not up to standard for a branch-less operation, and it wouldn’t suit their customers either.
Completely agree with everything you said in your post. When I was with Co-op I always felt when I was in my local branch they took time to understand me as a customer and were polite and courteous always.
In many ways this continual march toward fintech is making banking less personal which is a shame. I understand many prefer that banking should be less personal and the reasons behind this, and I must admit the technology excites me. It’s a shame we can’t have both.
The Everyday Rewards account is not a bad deal to be fair if you use a debit card for most of your purchases.
Does the mobile banking app show pending transactions for their accounts yet?
The Chelmsford branch wasn’t like this. They were so rude and abrupt. Only ever one counter open even with a long queue.
Very nice to chat with Ethel about her trip to the seaside but not for the 26 people standing behind her.
Nothing with my business account could ever be handled in branch, even ordering a paying in boom while in there. They just handed me a phone and dialled the number for me.
Ditching them for starling was the best move I made.
HSBC were polite and very efficient but they were charging me £1 per cheque I paid in which was costing me £40-50 a month at the time.
Precisely the reason why I now avoid branch banking at all costs. I stood in my local Lloyds branch a couple of years back to hand over two bags of change and it took nearly 20 minutes to get to a cashier. It was an absolute bloody waste of my time. I just don’t see how banks can make branches earn their keep anymore.
That’s a bit daft to be honest. The whole point of using CASS is that you can just do it online or through App? I’ve not had to do any in branch visits to carry out a CASS, so why Barclays should want you to visit a branch just seems a bit crass.
I admit though, the only time I have personally been asked to visit a branch, was when I wanted to open a Holts Bank current account. Holts were insisting that I visit my local NatWest Branch to prove who I was with ID, despite the fact that I am already a RBS current account holder who Holts are a subsidiary of. I told them to stop being silly and ended the process because they had no real justification to ask me to go out of my way to prove who I was. Shame that, I rather like their Squirrel debit card
I haven’t been into a bank branch for years. Unfortunately for people that work in the actual high street branches, branches are for the larger part people in the older generations and as time goes by and they become less and less so will branches.
No they don’t, you can switch through the Barclays app. I know, because I’ve done it. Maybe they were wanting you to visit the branch so they could confirm your identity as a new customer, rather than for the switch?
Thanks, Rob - good to know. Although I just chatted online with them and they confirmed that I might have to present proof of ID in a branch, even if I’d already been accepted for an account via the Barclays app. Perhaps their customer support folk are still a bit out of date with their info.
They also said that if this was a problem because I’m shielding, for example, then I should stick with my current bank!
Presumably you’ve failed some checks.
Barclays seem to have a dynamic system for checks. Some people have never had to do it when opening an account, some have had to go in branch, and others just go to an ATM (I had to go to one of their ATMs, presumably because it can capture a video of you).
Barclays do seem to have a strange system with ID checks required in branch. After many years between accounts with them I was able to open an account without going in to the branch. However, when I last closed an account with them they said they had changed their procedures and you needed to go in branch with ID to close an account if it is your last/only account with them. I’ve never had that with any other bank.