A photo of Santander Branch in Harborne

On Friday 16 July, residents will gather on Harborne high street, in order to protest against the closure of their local banks.

Planned closure of the branch of Santander on Harborne high street would leave members of the local community more vulnerable, as well as create even more problems for the community hotspot.

From Thursday 5 August 2021, the Harborne based bank is set to close, adding onto the 7,400 other bank closures since 2010.

Following a survey sent to around 1000 people surrounding the high street, it was revealed that 89% of people visit the bank branches on Harborne high street on a regular basis, with 89% of people also unable to travel 4 miles to the nearest bank, located in the city centre.

For citizens with disabilities or mobility issues, a trip into the inner city just to access banks would be both extremely difficult and unnecessarily polluting for Birmingham’s already poor air quality. This, as well as the new clean air zone strategy which has recently been implemented in the city centre, would mean that it could cost people £8 just to go to the bank.

As well as environmental issues which would arise because of this inaccessibility, 44% of people only use in-person banking, with 27% of people not understanding how online banking works, or lack internet access, making them the most vulnerable people in the community.

HSBC are also planning to shut down their Harborne branch, looking to become a virtual only bank, also preventing customers from solving issues in person.

Preet Kaur Gill, MP for Edgbaston in Birmingham, has called on Santander to reverse their decision, for the benefit of their customers and the local community, saying “Over the last decade, our high streets have suffered, seeing more and more empty units appearing. Following the pandemic, I do not want to see this trend continue. Harborne High Street should be a place that the community is proud of and is one that includes the pivotal services Santander provides its residents.”