Petition Fails to Keep Tunstall Co-op Bank Open

A 1,261 strong petition has failed in an attempt by Sandyford & Goldenhill Residents Association to keep the Co-op Bank open in Tunstall.

A meeting took place with Co-op Bank management on the 12th February, outlining why the Tunstall Branch should not close. Reasons put forward at the meeting by the residents association, along with City Councillors, Ann James, Joy Garner and Alan Dutton were,

  • The Co-op Bank is encouraging business use at the post office, which could encourage customers to transfer their services over to them
  • Tunstall Bank has disabled parking bays outside the branch where Hanley & Newcastle branches don’t
  • Nat-West & Barclays Bank closures has meant more people moving their services to the Co-op because of it being known as the people’s bank; mutuality when it was Britannia, and people still see it that way even though it no longer holds it’s mutual status. It is far easier to lose customers than to gain new “This needs to be remembered”
  • Post Office in Tunstall struggles to cope with the influx of customers now, let alone having extra Co-op Bank customers, (people shop in Tunstall)
  • There has been more disappointment about the Tunstall Bank closure because customers feel hurt at what has happened, you don’t usually get this with other bank closures & the upset could cause loyalty being thrown out of the window
  • 1 in 4 of over 16’s in Stoke on Trent don’t have internet access, over double the national average (many older people are not savvy with the internet let alone banking with it
  • Britannia passbook accounts cannot be serviced at the post office
  • Demographics of the city was discussed at length, including time, travel and financial costs
  • When the Co-op Bank recently suffered financial difficulties, its customers/membership stood by the financial institution in it’s time of crisis and now it is believed the favour should be returned
  • Concerns were raised that older people may keep their cash at home before travelling a distance
  • Loyalty with the Co-op Bank by it’s customers/members, sometimes means they will invest money at lower interest rates rather than investing elsewhere, and if driven to bank in Hanley then loyalty could be lost to other banking organisations

Conclusion statement given to the Co-op Management read, Customers/Members of the bank are devastated at the decision the Co-op has made to close the Tunstall Branch, and are hopeful that you will reconsider your choice to leave it open for your many members who have regularly supported the Co-op and previously the Britannia.

Remember, you already have a supportive and loyal membership, and this is something that most other banks don’t have, so please look at your decision again, it is important for everyone concerned.

The Co-op Bank responded by saying, they understand the strength of feeling towards the closure of any branch, and they appreciate the arguments presented against the closure of the Tunstall Branch. The bank went onto say, their proposal reflects changes in the way their customers are choosing to bank with them, which has continued to accelerate as customers increasingly undertake more of their transactions online or via contactless payments. The bank added, the Tunstall branch has seen a reduction in transaction volumes of 11.% in just the last 12 months, which is one of the highest reductions amongst the branches which are due to close in the Stoke area.

The Co-op Bank further report that the Post Office provides everyday banking services to their customers and there are 4 located within a two mile radius of their branch.

The bank continued to say that while they have considered the feedback of their customers and the wider Tunstall community through the petition, and subsequent feedback at the recent meeting with the bank, they are unable to change their decision to close the branch. They believe it is the right decision to close the branch and while they recognise and understand the concerns people have, they have made sure alternative arrangements outlined by the Co-op Bank are available to customers of the branch.

Sandyford & Goldenhill Residents Association, along with 1,261 customers/members and supporters are very disappointed with the outcome made by the Co-op Bank to close it’s Tunstall Branch and believe it is the wrong decision to make.

Co-op Bank say in their own words, About The Co-operative Bank (Their Vision, They Say) “We pride ourselves on our customer service and customer satisfaction levels, and aim to put our customers at the heart of everything we do”. Unfortunately, almost 1,000 customers/members and supporters who signed the paper petition on cold and wintery days outside the branch as well as the online petition are finding it difficult to believe the Co-op Bank statement of priding themselves on their customer service, satisfaction levels and aiming to put their customers at the heart of everything they do by closing this well used bank in the heart of Tunstall.

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