Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (25th February 2014) called on Bankers, Santander, to ‘think again’ over plans to axe its agency office in Guisborough.
Tom made this comment in the light of reports that Santander were planning to close all 139 agencies – small offices operating out of local estate agents and insurance brokers – in remote communities across the UK.
“I appreciate that the growth of e-banking has meant that visits to local banks for things like withdrawals and deposits or account checking are becoming less and less a part of everyday banking, but I do have to say that there are still many people – especially the elderly – who don’t all have internet expertise or connection and rely on these agencies for a myriad of day to day transactions.
“This is particularly the case in rural areas or in smaller market towns like Guisborough, where the only choice for Santander customers will be to travel miles to Redcar if they want to bank in a branch.
“In overall terms, this move will hit the estate agents who act as hubs for Santander. Loss of agency status will mean that they will have to survive on their estate agency business – and we all know this will be difficult in a still depressed house buying marker in areas like Teesside and East Cleveland.
“When they took over these agencies Santander described them as the “lifeblood of rural communities” so I would hope that they think again, and in so doing review the social needs of their customers as part of any plan for their Guisborough customers.”