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MPs hit out at Lloyds’ ‘disappointing’ decision to close branches in region

PUBLISHED: 11:13 08 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:13 08 December 2017

Bungay has lost its last bank branch as Lloyds Banking Group announces branch closures. Picture Nick Butcher.

Bungay has lost its last bank branch as Lloyds Banking Group announces branch closures. Picture Nick Butcher.

Archant © 2017

MPs have branded Lloyds Banking Group’s decision to close three north Suffolk branches as ‘disappointing’.

Bungay has lost its last bank branch as Lloyds Banking Group announces branch closures. Picture Nick Butcher. Bungay has lost its last bank branch as Lloyds Banking Group announces branch closures. Picture Nick Butcher.

The bank will close 32 branches across the UK including Bungay, Southwold and Halesworth – leaving Bungay without a bank.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous and Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey met with representatives of the branch this week to discuss the situation.

Speaking of the Bungay closure Mr Aldous said: “I am concerned that those who are not able to fully access online banking such as the elderly, market traders who deal in cash and farmers who operate with cheques, will not have access to the banking services they need and deserve.”

Mary Matthews, mayor of Bungay, said it was the fifth bank closure they had faced in the last few years.

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey. Photo: House of Commons Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey. Photo: House of Commons

She said: “It is devastating to find this announcement has been made, not just for local residents but for our businesses too.

“There is now nowhere for them to deposit money and nowhere for them to get change.”

Ms Matthews added the town hosts three popular street markets throughout the year, bringing more than 15,000 people to the town.

With just two cash machines left in Bungay, both with limits on how much can be accessed, shoppers will find it difficult to stock up on spending money.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous. Courtesy of the office of Peter Aldous. Waveney MP Peter Aldous. Courtesy of the office of Peter Aldous.

Ms Coffey called the decision to close the Halesworth and Southwold branches “especially disappointing”.

She said: “A commitment was previously made to me by the Lloyds local director that employing staff split over the two sites would mean they would be able to stay open longer.

“I have told them they need to commit to the mobile banking service long term otherwise customers will switch to other banks that are still operational in both towns.”

Southwold mayor Matthew Horwood expressed concerns about the impact the closure would have on elderly residents in the town.

Mayor of Bungay Mary Matthews. Photo: Bungay Town Council. Mayor of Bungay Mary Matthews. Photo: Bungay Town Council.

He said: “The over 55s made up 60pc of their customers – which is quite a large number of people.

“I can see older people in the future will be familiar with internet banking and that will happen over the next 20 to 30 years.

“But certainly there will be a lot of elderly people who may not be able to use it.”

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