Malmesbury Town Council has reacted to the news that Lloyds Bank is planning to stop its bus-based bank service in May by pledging to secure a new local banking facility in the high street.
The council will continue trying to persuade Lloyds to change its mind until this is achieved.
As with many towns and cities across the UK, Malmesbury has lost its bank branches over the last few years as more and more people do their banking online.
Now Lloyds has told the town council that its mobile bank – which visits fortnightly on a Wednesday – will cease at the end of May, leaving the town with no access to physical banking services.
Angry that local people are being let down, town mayor and leader of the town council, Cllr Gavin Grant said, “We have to accept across society that banking has changed in the last decade beyond recognition. According to Which? 5,791 local bank branches have been lost and a further 189 are expected to close this year according to LINK.
“At the town council, we were pleased that Lloyds, which closed its physical branch here in 2020, committed to sending its mobile bank to our town once a fortnight. This supported our residents who do not have the internet at home or experience poor connectivity or who cannot access online services for other reasons. Not having this facility means a significant minority of people in our area, many vulnerable, will have no access to a bank at all. What we really need now is a banking hub like those starting to be seen in bigger towns.
“I intend to lobby Lloyds to keep the service going until we have one so that we can continue to serve everyone in our community.”
The thorny issue was discussed at the town council’s recent meeting (16th January) where it was agreed that Cllr Grant would appeal to Lloyds Bank to reconsider withdrawing the service.
Councillors also decided to research the possibility of a community banking hub being created and, if possible, to apply to the new scheme being set up by the banking industry to explore what the options are for a town like Malmesbury if all physical banking facilities are lost.
Cllr Campbell Ritchie, who heads up Malmesbury Town Team and raised this issue at the council meeting, added, “We cannot control what a private company does but the announcement by Lloyds Bank they are reducing an already impoverished banking service even more, and in the process will exclude even more residents and businesses from adequate access to banking, is very concerning. I am pleased we will be trying our best to get a community banking hub in Malmesbury and, before then, to get Lloyds to at least delay its decision until one can be established.”
Pictured above: Cllr Gavin Grant, Malmesbury Town Mayor and leader of the town council