By Jake McDermott
The Bramley branch of the Yorkshire Bank closed on August 14 after it was announced several months ago, leaving the residents of Bramley to seek out the nearest branch, or switch to online banking.
The Bramley branch is one of six, in Leeds and the surrounding area, that have shut its doors this year, which the Yorkshire Bank attribute to a “downward trend in footfall”.
The town of Bramley has a high population of pensioners, with the closure of this branch being a huge blow for them, as the closest branches, Pudsey and Horsforth, are over two miles away.
Pamela Smith, 67, and resident of Bramley said: “This has made things much more difficult for me. They are trying to get us to use mobile banking instead, but when I have to go into the bank, that means I have to travel all the way to Pudsey by bus.”
The Bramley library does offer support to people who are struggling with their internet banking, but the local MP Rachel Reeves believes that this isn’t enough and that the closing of the bank is still a “huge blow”.
The Bramley Labour MP told Yorkshire Voice: “The bank closing is a huge blow for Bramley, which has left the people struggling as to how they will be able to efficiently use Yorkshire Bank, and I assume the other areas where the Yorkshire banks have shut are facing the same problems.”
The use of the internet by over 60s in the UK is increasing every year, but there are still many elderly citizens that don’t access it. A national study carried out by the charity Age UK in 2016 revealed that 61% of elderly people in Britain do not use the internet on a regular basis.
This issue is not exclusive to Bramley, but is affecting banks all across the UK, as the consumer group Which? found there were 3,303 closures between January 2015 and August of this year.
Which? said the closures were primarily driven by the “big four” banks – Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group. RBS closed almost three quarters, or 412, of its branches across the UK, it said.