Barclays launches mobile bank service in Houghton after closing town's branch

Customers left bereft of a bank branch after Barclays closed its premises in a Wearside town have been offered some solace as the company launches a mobile banking service.

Barclays closed its branch in Houghton’s Newbottle Street in July 2021, leaving customers facing a trek if they needed to access in-person services.

Now the financial services giant has launched a ‘Barclays Van’ service for the town.

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Customers can book an appointment and visit the van at the Houghton’s Station Road car park.

Picture issued by Sunderland Labour Group.Picture issued by Sunderland Labour Group.
Picture issued by Sunderland Labour Group.

The van doesn’t provide a counter or cash service, but allows customers to speak face-to-face with branch staff, as well as providing access to self-service machines and helping customers thinking about buying a new home, setting up a business or saving for the future.

The service, however, has been welcomed by Houghton’s Labour councillors, who had promised to press Barclays on continuing banking services in Houghton.

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Cllr Juliana Heron, Labour councillor for Houghton Ward, said: “The closure of the bank on Houghton high street left hundreds of residents with little to no access to a branch and hit some of society’s most vulnerable especially hard.

“By bringing the pop-up branch to the town, we are ensuring those residents get the support they need while giving people more reasons to come down to the town centre and spend time here.

“It’s great for the town and I can’t thank Barclays enough for how supportive they were in ensuring they went above and beyond to support us.”

The Barclays Van also delivers educational and digital awareness workshops.

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This includes the Barclays LifeSkills programme which provides the skills needed for the world of work, Money Mentors for those requiring budgeting support, to top tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of a fraud or scam.

Customers can also tap into digital expertise including how to use the Barclays app and staying safe online.

“It’s vital that residents, especially those that are hard to reach, retain access to vital banking services, so we’re absolutely delighted to have secured a Barclays Van for the town,” added Cllr John Price, a fellow Labour councillor for Houghton Ward.

“Since we started liaising with the bank 18 months ago, they’ve been nothing but open and honest with us and have worked tirelessly to ensure they continue supporting local residents, so we’re absolutely thrilled to have the Barclays Van in town. We can’t thank them enough for their ongoing support.”