Under mounting pressure, Barclays reverses position to support Post Office banking

By Oliver Smith on 25th October 2019

Challenger Banks

As bank branches are shuttered at record rates, Barclays will continue offering its services via 11,500 UK Post Offices.

Under mounting pressure, Barclays reverses position to support Post Office banking
Image source: Post Office.

As bank branches have shuttered in recent years, the UK’s network of 11,500 Post Office branches have become a core provider of banking services.

The service started with digital banks like Starling Bank and Cashplus—which needed the Post Office network to handle physical cash deposits—and later expanded to 28 additional banks including every major UK high street bank.

Then, at the start of this month, it was revealed Barclays had decided to stop offering its services via the Post Office.

In response more than 120 cross-party MPs attacked the bank’s decision and Barclays was called to appear in front of a Commons committee to explain its decision.

Barclays has closed over 400 branches since 2015, leaving many communities underserved by mounting numbers of bank branch closures.

Today Barclays reversed its decision, saying it had been “persuaded to rethink” discontinuing its services from the Post Office.

 “Barclays have finally read the writing on the wall and caved to public and political pressure to dump this woefully misguided policy,” said Rachel Reeves MP, chair of the Commons’ cross-party business, energy and industrial strategy committee.

One reason for the original Barclays decision to abandon the Post Office was due to the rising cost that banks were being charged to take part, reportedly because the Post Office previously lost money on its Everyday Banking offering.

Barclays CEO Jes Staley said: “Whilst we have concerns regarding the sustainability of relying on this model in the longer term, and want to work with government and others to address the problems inherent in it, we recognise that the Post Office is a network valued by many communities in the UK today.”

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