MP slams bank's decision to replace two high street branches with mobile service
PUBLISHED: 09:09 28 December 2017
A Suffolk MP is keeping up the pressure on bosses at Lloyds Bank, which is set to close two north Suffolk branches next year.
The bank is to shut both Halesworth and Southwold branches – directly affecting nearly 1,000 people who use the bank and access no other banking services.
Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has described the decision as “extremely disappointing” and has met bank officials and written to Lloyds’ chief executive, António Horta Osório, to express her concern.
She said the company had said that a mobile banking service would be improved to help customers in the area.
Dr Coffey said: “I have asked Lloyds for more clarity on where and how often the mobile banking service will operate and I have urged them that they need to commit to it long term.
“I have also asked whether they are able to keep the ATMs open and await their reply on that.”
Lloyds said Halesworth would close on May 3 and the Southwold branch on May 9.
Group executive complaints manager Tracey Greenhough said: “Following careful consideration, we believe that our decision to close Halesworth and Southwold branch is the correct one under the present circumstances, which does include our awareness of planned developments and possible population increases.
“We never take the decision to close any branch lightly. In this instance, both decisions were based on careful analysis of the useage of each branch over the last few years, and a thorough review, which incorporates a visit to the branch and the local area.”
The Halesworth review had shown the number of people using the branch each year is falling.
Some 70 per cent fewer customers use the branch than use a typical Lloyds branch. At present only 40 personal and business customers use the branch each week and 69pc of its customers already use other branches and other ways to bank such as via phone and Internet.
At Southwold, only 18 personal and business customers use it each week – 82pc fewer than a typical branch.
The bank was investing in expansion of its mobile branch service for Lloyds customers in rural communities and one of the mobile branches will visit Halesworth and Southwold, and this will be in place before the closures.