BARCLAYS has launched an initiative in Guiseley to work with the community to keep the last bank in town open.

Guiseley is one of 12 branches across the UK taking part in the scheme with a further 46 last-in-town sites recently added.

The initiative will look at working more closely with local people to understand how customers use a physical branch in the 21st century, and to test whether by working in direct partnership, local branch banking can be sustainable over the long term. Jon Clowes, Local Director for Barclays, said: “In Guiseley, we believe there is real appetite amongst businesses and the local community to support us in keeping the branch open, whilst acknowledging that many customers are choosing alternative ways to undertake their banking such as mobile, online and telephony services."

“In order to keep the Guiseley branch open, we’re asking the community to get behind us and speak to us for more information.

“We also understand not everyone wants to manage their finances digitally, that’s why we’ll have specialists in these branches to support people with more complex financial needs such as buying a home, saving for university and planning for retirement.

“Our ambition is to have an innovative and sustainable suite of branches that exist alongside multi-channel banking options.”

Emily Shaw has been appointed as branch manager and is looking forward to welcoming both new and existing customers to the Guiseley branch.

Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough MP Stuart Andrew visited the branch to meet the team and formally launch the initiative.

He said: “I’m pleased that Barclays is not only retaining the last bank in Guiseley but are also tailoring its services to meet local needs.

“This is excellent news for Guiseley and I hope the local community support Barclays to help secure its long-term future.”

The branch now has a video banking facility giving greater access to specialists for more complex enquiries.

“Digital Eagles” are offering in-branch activities such as helping to raise awareness of the skills to stay safe in a digital age, alongside colleague-led seminars to assist with ongoing financial management planning.

The initiative is being extended to 47 remote branches which are more than eight miles from the nearest branch.

The bank has committed to keeping the 105 last-in-town and remote branches open until October 2021.