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The EDP says... Bank closures must not short-change our most vulnerable

PUBLISHED: 11:01 19 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:16 19 May 2018

A campaign has begun to save the HSBC bank in Reepham. Picture: Ian Burt

A campaign has begun to save the HSBC bank in Reepham. Picture: Ian Burt

Not so long ago, transferring money or paying a bill would have meant a trip to the bank.

The Bungay branch of Lloyds bank has closed. Picture: Nick ButcherThe Bungay branch of Lloyds bank has closed. Picture: Nick Butcher

Today, dramatic changes in technology have made managing your money so much easier - but it has come at a cost.

Responding to people’s changing habits in doing more of their banking online, high street chains have gradually closed more and more of their branches over the past decade.

Even many of those that have stayed open have reduced their hours, making it harder for those that need to reach a branch.

Of course, the most vulnerable who struggle with internet access suffer the most because there is no way other way for them to bank. But even those of us with full online access often need to go to a branch in person.

Sometimes it is just better to speak to a person face-to-face and know your query is being dealt with, rather than by a web chat or over the phone.

To a degree, one can understand why banks have made the decisions they have. They have seen the number of people using their branches decline, plus they have faced financial challenges like any other business since the 2008 crash.

Organisations like NatWest have pledged to bring its mobile banking van to towns to bridge the gap. But when all banks close in towns like Bungay and Eye, the community quite rightly feels short-changed. At the very least, the most vulnerable need to be catered for.


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