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Banks in South Woodham Ferrers

There are three bank buildings in South Woodham; Santander, to the right of Asda at 12 Chandlers Way, Barclays and the Nat West in the Queen Elizabeth II Square and shopping precinct behind them. Sadly, Nat West has closed, Santander in South Woodham Ferrers is closing on the 2 May 2019, currently leaving only Barclays open to visitors. Clients used to be able to deposit cash, withdraw money and perform most common transactions over the counter in face-to-face transactions. Santander has stated that people will be able to use Post Office Services in Herald's Way to withdraw and pay in cash from their current account.

Barclays and Nat West banks in South Woodham Ferrers

In addition, there are 3 cash machines at the left of the main entrance to the Asda supermarket.

Cash can also be obtained in the form of ‘cashback’ when shopping in Asda.

There are also ATMs outside the Spar shop in Clements Green Lane and outside the ‘open all hours shop’ of One Stop in Hullbridge Road.

 

Security

Anyone especially concerned about security used to be able to use an ATM inside Santander Bank, sadly that will be no more on the 2nd of May 2019. Money withdrawls from bank accounts will be able to be made from the Post Office.

Santander Bank South Woodham Ferrers

Historically

As the popularity of online banking grew, the need for high street banks in South Woodham has diminished. The Halifax used to have an office in what is now Church and Hawes Estate Agent. The nearest Halifax is now in Wickford High Street. There also used to be a Woolwich Building Society which was taken over by Barclays.

 

A personal view of the impact on society with the closure of bank branches.

Our Santander bank in town is closing and there are rumours of the last remaining bank also closing which leaves us with no branches to walk into and deal with our banking issues face-to-face.

Santander have said that any clients wishing to deposit or withdraw funds from their current account will still be able to do so at the local post office. South Woodham Ferrers is among the fortunate towns that still have a post office, many in smaller villages no longer have one.

Now, although I can see that this saves banks money and that it can be convenient for people, I can also see the disenfranchisement of a number of older, poor and disabled people.

To be able to use online banking, you need at the least a smartphone and have the necessary skills.

My concern is that there are people in poverty who cannot afford a smart phone, elderly who never acquired IT skills and those with special needs who can manage their cash but who haven’t a hope of dealing with the complexities of a smart phone and apps.

Some people seem to think that’s the price of progress. Personally, I don’t see something that causes hardship for the vulnerable is progress, especially when banks will be selling off their large and expensive properties and making even more money by reducing their costs.

Someone suggested that the slack should be picked up by social services. They’re struggling as it is. Why should social services subsidise bank profits?

It will be interesting to see whether the queues in the post office grow longer and what other problems this causes. A good number of elderly people have poor balance and are unable to stand for long periods and this what they would be expected to do in the South Woodham Post Office.

A cashless society is the aim

The government is sold on the idea of a fully digital society irrespective of the difficulty it will cause the less able in our society. From their point of view, it will end tax evasion because every transaction will be recorded.  

VAT submission in digital form 2019

From 2019, every business must submit its VAT records in digital form. This includes invoices and receipts. Theoretically, it should make business accounting easier because most invoices and receipts are already issued in the form of pdf files which can be uploaded to the Tax Man. Paper receipts can be photographed and uploaded.  

Other, more advanced countries are re-thinking the cashless society

Sweden which has almost achieved a 100% cashless society is rethinking the policy because of various reasons, most to do with the security of the system. It makes nations extremely vulnerable to attacks on networks and power.

It is not as if we are yet confident of being able to generate sufficient electricity to meet  Britain’s future requirements.

Personally, I think it is time that people started thinking about the outcomes of this policy and not just saying, I can cope -  I’m alright Jack.

Problems that need to be overcome

It was announced in January 2019 that banks plan to introduce SMS authentication for certain online purchases (similar to what we already have for certain bank transactions) despite some parts of Britain not having a mobile signal.

We have reasonably good mobile coverage in South Woodham Ferrers. Most of the complaints regarding communications are about broadband issues. BT

OpenReach has been installing fibre in South Woodham but the benefits of that are yet to be felt by the customers of certain Internet providers.  Online banking can be extremely frustrating when broadband speeds are low.

For example, we have fibre broadband supplied by TalkTalk and our speeds vary between pathetic and only just acceptable. There are times when web pages for online banking simply hang and are inaccessible.

Talk Talk fibre broadband south woodham ferrers