Why does the latest High Street Bank (HSBC), which has decided to close its branch in Rye, tell me they “have reviewed their options”? They may have reviewed theirs, they certainly haven’t asked me! Why should I be surprised? How silly of me! The bank is not there to serve me, only its shareholders and the financiers who play the market. I seem to have noticed a lot of people using this local branch, unlike the letter writer, who informs me that “some of our branches are being used far less frequently”. It doesn’t even bother to refer directly to the Rye Branch in this sentence.
The HSBC bank has also had the nerve to apologise for the inconvenience! The organisation couldn’t care less about my inconvenience, or, more importantly, the inconvenience to be experienced by people who don’t drive, those with mobility problems, the people with no access to online or mobile banking or with absolutely no desire to set to and learn. The local business that pays in its takings, the individual who wants to speak to a real person, not an infuriating voice asking us to spend our time “pressing option 1 then 4” and then leaving us to hang on for half an hour, because the organisation is too mean to have enough people to answer the phone in the soulless call centre. Why should we all be forced to use the computer, with all the risks of scams and fraud associated and so eagerly discussed in the media, to terrify an unsuspecting public? Especially perhaps the older person.
I think I would be a great deal less angry if they just wrote and said ‘we are really not interested in your opinions or your local business, because we want you to use online and mobile banking for our convenience and profit is our only motive’. I do not want to travel to Hastings, or even further, to Bexhill. The local Post Office? probably the best option if I want money in or out of an account, but no use if I need to discuss, for example, a loan or probate with someone.
I expect the rest of the local banks will soon be sending out equally patronising letters to inform their hard working customers of their imminent closure. So, whither Rye’s fragile local economy? Down the proverbial drain? Or, as Brexit supporters would have us believe, an opportunity? For what, exactly?