A BANK is to close a rural branch despite a popular petition from residents.

Barclays bank announced it was going to close its Crook branch in December last year.

When the announcement was made Durham County Councillor Anne Reed and residents started a petition to keep the bank.

The petition received 1,649 signatures and was submitted to Barclays.

Following many discussions with Barclays Bank chiefs, they decided to continue with the closure of the Crook branch today, Friday, February 19.

This is due to the changing nature of banking with many transactions taking place online.

Cllr Reed said: “May I thank everyone who supported the petition, your voices were heard but Barclays Bank were adhering to their planned closure.

"Barclays Bank has been in Crook over 100 years where it started out in Hope Street before opening their branch at marketplace in the 1970’s."

In a letter from Jon Clowes who is the Bank Director said: “The decision to close a branch is never an easy one, however, the way we bank today is unrecognisable from 50 years ago when almost every banking transaction took place in a branch.

“We will ensure that everyday banking remains easy and convenient for our customers and will discuss alternative options with our more vulnerable customers”.

In March 2021 Barclays Bank is hoping to visit Crook market on Tuesdays with their Barclays Van offering help with anything from money management and financial health, to business support.

Barclays is now working with the Post Office to offer their banking services such as: Paying in and withdrawing cash, checking your account balance, and paying in cheques to your account using a personalised paying slip.

These Post Offices include Crook and Howden-le-Wear.

Ravi Siva who runs the Post Office within the Premier shop at Crook, has been helping the community since lockdown.

He began by enabling customers of all banks to, obtain free cash withdrawals, cash in small change or coinage and deposit cheques.

However, at the moment the Post Office is unable to do the following transactions for the associated banks: TSB - no cash deposits, Barclays - unable to pay credit card bills and set-up direct debits.