Shropshire Star

Elderly abandoned by banking giants, claims Shropshire pensioner

A Shropshire pensioner fighting on behalf of other elderly people claims they are being treated like second class citizens by banking giants as more local branches face closure.


Bryan Swain met with the manager of the Co-op Bank in Oswestry this week to express his disgust at the company's decision to leave the town branch.

He said although the banks offer alternatives for people losing their local branch, such as the internet and Post Offices, it does not stretch far enough.

"They are abandoning elderly people. They refer people to online banking but not all elderly people use the internet, not everyone can afford it, there's buying the computer as well as the internet connection, plus online banking doesn't provide the same service as in branch does," he said.

The 71-year-old, from St Martins near Oswestry, who volunteers to take part in a 'befriending' scheme to spend time with elderly people who don't see friends and loved ones, said the closures were making life difficult for pensioners.

He said: "Not everyone can get to the banks in other towns such as Shrewsbury, and when you do there's the £4 parking charge you pay – which eats up the £5 they offer you to go paperless and bank online, that's nothing really is it. Why should I be bribed by that?

"In my opinion they don't care about the customer, and as for elderly people, we are being treated like second class citizens. I'm speaking up because I want to look after the pensioners, not everyone is able to speak up."

Despite only setting up his Co-op account in November, Mr Swain said he's angry there was no indication the branch would be closing, however has confirmed he is already looking elsewhere to switch over.

He said: "People need to act with their feet, and change banks."

Earlier this month officials confirmed Oswestry's Co-operative Bank will be closing on May 3. Liam Coleman, director retail and commercial bank at The Co-operative Bank, cited the increase in digital banking contributing to the firm's decision to close the Cross Street branch. Branches in Whitchurch and Wellington will also close this year.

In recent months HSBC has also announced a string of closures in the region. Chirk, Llanfyllin, Llanfair Caereinion and Ruabon are among those deemed no longer viable. Other towns to lose branches are Whitchurch and Market Drayton, as well as the Harlescott Cattle Market branch in Shrewsbury.

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