Another bank branch is to close in the Sleaford area prompting concerns about how it will affect small local businesses and elderly residents.
Lloyds Banking Group has yesterday (Tuesday) named 100 of its branches across the country that it is closing down, at a loss of 325 jobs.
The group will be closing branches of Halifax and Bank of Scotland branches as well as Lloyds, which are all part of the Lloyds group and Heckington’s part-time branch is set to be among those axed in October.
The bank is going through major cutbacks and will see 400 of its local branches close by the end of 2017, blamed on the changing ways customers choose to bank and reduced number of transactions in branches.
A Lloyds Bank spokesman said Heckington branch will close on October 4, adding: “We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause and have informed customers of the closest alternative branch, which is Sleaford. Alternatively the local post office is a short distance away where customers can manage their day-to-day banking needs.”
She said the nearest free ATM is a short walk away and customers will have their accounts realigned to Sleaford.
The Heckington branch currently opens between 10am and 2.45pm on Wednesdays and Fridays for local residents and businesses to conduct their banking without having to do it online, over the phone or travel into Sleaford or Boston. But the Lloyds spokesman said 80 per cent of personal banking customers already use other branches and counter transactions made by personal customers at Heckington decreased last year by 10 per cent.
She claimed the branch has just 11 regular weekly personal and business customers.
Andrew Franks runs the Windmill Shop, selling fruit and vegetables on the village green in Heckington. He felt it will be a shame to lose the Lloyds branch, saying: “I don’t think they are interested in having a shop front. Once something like that closes down you will never reopen it again.”
He said they use the branch for shop business to keep things local and to support the village’s facilities. He added: “A lot of people in the village and surrounding villages use it. There are a lot of older people who all use it.”
Angie Besson had just opened a business account with Lloyds as she was due to take over the Pop Inn cafe on Heckington High Street in May.
She said: “I will have to go into Sleaford now for the banking. It’s a shame, especially for the elderly as so many retire to Heckington and we haven’t got very good public transport.
“It is handy for the local businesses to pop in. You can’t do everything through a cashpoint and I can’t pay by card as I cannot get a mobile phone reception.
It comes just a couple of weeks after NatWest announced it was closing its branch in Sleaford. The matter is to be raised by the Mayor, Coun David Suiter at the next meeting of Sleaford Town Council on Wednesday.