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MP asks financial regulator to block banks leaving high streets after Barclays deserts Windermere and Kirkby Lonsdale

October 27, 2021 10:49 AM

Local MP Tim Farron has written to the Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) urging him to go ahead with plans to block banks from leaving the high street after it was announced that Barclays will be closing its Windermere and Kirkby Lonsdale branches in January.

Back in August, the Financial Times reported that the FCA was considering new rules that would allow it to block banks from closing high street branches to help ensure consumers and businesses can still use cash.

Writing to FCA CEO Nikhil Rathi, Tim said: "Late last week Barclays announced they would be closing their branches in Windermere and Kirkby Lonsdale.

"This is very unwelcome news for my constituents, many of whom will now have to travel in some cases a 50 mile round trip to access cash, bank takings from their business or get change. At a time when we are being asked to lessen our carbon footprint, this will inevitably involve the use of a car and the double whammy is sky high petrol prices which will also hit those affected in their pockets.

"I read in the summer that the Treasury was running a consultation that would enable the FCA to have powers that would allow it to block banks from closing high street branches to help ensure consumers and businesses can still use cash. It was reported at the time that in-person banking services should remain important alongside ATMs and other initiatives such as making cashback more widely available.

"Given that the closure of banks in these tourist hotspots of Windermere and Kirkby Lonsdale will cause enormous difficulties to many traders, let alone those with reduced mobility, the elderly, vulnerable and the many tourists who come to visit each year, will you consider stepping in to prevent yet another nail in the coffin of retail high street banking which leaves many communities stripped of even more services and jeopardises their viability?"