Thursday 28 September 2017

Mill Hill Broadway and the flight of the banks

This week two financial institutions shut their doors for the last time in Mill Hill Broadway. Nat West and Halifax followed Lloyds and HSBC in sticking their fingers up at customers and shutting up shop. The message is 'use our branch in Edgware'. I was discussing the issue yesterday and one of the  people I was with said 'so what? No one uses bank branches anymore'. This is a common myth. Sadly it is one which the management of banks has bought into. Whilst personal customers use banks far less, for businesses, community groups and charities they are vital. I am a member of the Mill Hill Music Festival organising committee. During the festival we require the bank every day, to pay in cash and cheque ticket sales and to get cash for artists and expenses. We moved from Lloyds to Barclays as a result of the closure. A five minute trip to pay in would have become 40 minutes, with the cost and hassles of parking on top. Likewise, The Sacred Heart Church, which I am also involved in has had to change its banking arrangements. The cash collected at mass has to be paid in. All charities doing cash collections etc are in a similar situation, as are sports clubs, Brownie groups etc.

Then there are local businesses. I run one of these. There are a plethora of other similar ones on Mill Hill Broadway all with a requirement to pay in cash. I also travel extensively and have a requirement to collect foreign currency. All of these things become more time consuming and hassle without local banks. If you walk past Barclays, our sole remaining clearing bank, you will see that there is invariably a queue of people waiting for service. These are real customers who require a local branch.  I charge my time out as a consultant at £75 per hour, if you require my skills on a commercial basis. If I have to make three trips a week to Edgware to pay in, that has in effect cost me £225. It means I have to drive rather than walk, creating pollution and being bad for my health. If banks don't care, then we need to move our custom.

In answer to those who say 'there are other way to do all of those things'. Maybe there is, but they involve hassle, disruption and research. A local charity I know is considering stopping as the lady who does the fundraising, does not want the aggravation and risk of having to get a bus to Edgware with heavy bags of coins. If you've opened a bank account recently, you will know how much hassle changing banks is. I don't understand why banks can't share Know Your Customer (KYC) information for switchers. This would remove all of this hassle.

I will be writing to the chairman of Barclays, asking for a commitment to Mill Hill. If this is forthcoming, I suggest all local businesses and charities switch their arrangements accordingly.


CalvinCasino said...

Now there are two banks left in Mill Hill Broadway. Barclays & Santander.

It is becoming a concern for all of Mill Hill residents like ourselves.

Broadway Blogger said...

Thank you. Excellent points. We do paying in and now have to use Edgware. A concern is the empty properties on the Broadway. The Halifax looks dreadful. They are huge dead spots effecting the businesses next to them.
The Broadway has improved greatly in the last 12 months. This is setting us back and it is a real shame.