Dismay as bank branches close

The NetWest branch in Pocklington.
The NetWest branch in Pocklington.

Mayor of Pocklington David Sykes has expressed his disappointment after two banks announced they were closing branches in the town.

The NatWest branch will close on Monday 21 May, while the Lloyds branch will close its doors on Monday 4 June.

The Lloyds branch in Pocklington.

The Lloyds branch in Pocklington.

Councillor Sykes said the closures would hit the elderly residents the hardest as they like to use the face-to-face services at the banks.

Coun Sykes said: “We were worried about the Lloyds branch closing down after it went down to a three-and-a-half day working week and I was aware of rumours about the closure of NatWest.

“It’s always a great loss to the town when financial institutions close their doors to the population.

“We have a large number of elderly residents within our population who like the face-to-face service and they are being told to travel to York or Driffield, or to use internet banking services.

The grand opening of Lloyds bank's Pocklington branch in September 2013.

The grand opening of Lloyds bank's Pocklington branch in September 2013.

“It’s obviously a great shame for the people who work in the banks who will be losing their jobs.”

The Pocklington Post understands that Lloyds accounts at the town’s branch will transfer to the branch in Pavement, York, with Acomb and Driffield named as “alternative branches”.

Lloyds blamed the closures on changing customer habits with more people choosing to bank digitally and via their mobiles.

The bank said it would be introducing a new mobile branch service in Pocklington next summer.

A Lloyds spokeswoman said: “As a consequence, the number of customers visiting some of our branches has declined in recent years. In response to this, we have confirmed the locations of some Yorkshire branches which will close next year.

“We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause and have informed customers of the closest alternative branch.”

NatWest, in a statement, gave its key reasons for the branch closure.

The bank said:

Transactions in NatWest Pocklington branch have reduced by 41% since 2012 with now only 59 customers visiting the branch on a weekly basis

63% of customers are now choosing to bank digitally with us on a regular basis instead

87% of customers are already banking in other ways locally

A NatWest spokesman said: “We are communicating with our customers affected by the closure and are proactively contacting vulnerable customers and regular branch users.

“We know that not all of our customers are comfortable or familiar with using online or mobile banking, so we have created a new specialist taskforce of NatWest TechXperts who will be dedicated to supporting our customers with training and support with digital skills until the branch closes.

“We provide a range of alternative ways to bank, tailored to the needs of our customers and reflective of the way they live their lives. These include: Online and mobile, telephony, video banking and ATMs (cash machines).”