December 8, 2022 11.30 am This story is over 11 months old

Councillor calls for end to ‘anti-social’ bank closures

Not everyone wants to bank online, he says

The closures of banks are leaving towns and residents worse off, a councillor says.

HSBC is due to shut four branches in Lincolnshire next year as part of a move to online banking, and Sleaford will also lose its Barclays in March.

But elderly people could find getting online or travelling to another branch tricky, Councillor David Suiter (NK Independents) has said.

He wants the government to stop big banks from pulling out of towns where it would have a detrimental effect.

“Whilst many people are able to bank online some, often elderly residents and many others still rely on banking in person,” his motion for North Kesteven’s next full council meeting says.

“Closing the local branch will mean them having to travel substantial distances when many are unable to drive.

“Banks are an essential service in our communities, giving residents convenient access to their finances and allowing them to take care of their affairs.

“Lack of access to banking services adversely affects access to credit for small and medium-sized businesses, and hits business in various other ways.

Sleaford is also to lose its branch of Barclays | Photo: Google

“They are often situated in the heart of our town centres, in close proximity to other vital facilities and shops. Once banks go, other facilities tend to deteriorate.”

He wants the Financial Conduct Authority to have more power in stopping banks from carrying out “anti-social closures of local branches without adequate alternative provisions”.

The motion will be debated at the meeting on Thursday, December 15.

HSBC recently confirmed it will shut branches in Gainsborough, Stamford, Sleaford and Epworth next year, although the Lincoln branch will get a refurbishment.

The Sleaford branch of Barclays is due to close on Wednesday, March 2023.

HSBC says that the number of people physically going into banks has fallen by 65%, which has been hastened by the Covid pandemic.

97.5% of all its banking transactions are now made online.

Around 100 jobs are due to be lost as the bank closes 114 branches across the country.

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