Less than a year after a major bank left a market town’s high street, another is to close its doors.
HSBC may have decided to keep its headquarters in London but it’s not keeping its branch in Neston , the town’s About My Area web site revealed.
With many residents holding both personal and business accounts at the branch, the closure will bring massive inconvenience and has been announced without any consultation either with individuals or local authorities it is said.
Natwest shut up shop early last year .
In letters received by customers HSBC argued the decision is due to more people using telephone and internet banking with the shutters coming down on the tills for the final time on Friday April 29.
Account holders are being advised to use branches in Heswall or Chester or the Post Office.
MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston Justin Madders (Lab) has written to HSBC’s area director saying: “I am very disappointed this decision appears to have been taken without any consultation or discussion with local residents, customers or elected representatives such as myself.”
He has asked if the bank would be willing to attend a public meeting to listen to views on the issue
Louise Gittins (Lab), borough councillor for Little Neston and Burton, said: “This is a very disappointing decision by HSBC, particularly as there has been no apparent consultation with local residents.
“I will be writing to the HSBC expressing my concern and asking them to attend the public meeting, as suggested by our MP.”
Neston ward borough councillor Andy Williams (Lab) said it was ‘terrible’ to see another bank branch disappear from the high street but admitted he was one of those to blame for its departure as he did all his banking on line.
Mike Shipman, chairman of Neston Town Council and town mayor for Neston said in a personal statement: “I think it deplorable that HSBC has taken a decision that dramatically affects its customers in and beyond Neston without feeling the need to consult with local customers beforehand.”
Carrie Spacey, editor of the website and chairman of Neston & District Chamber of Trade, commented: “I echo much of what the councillors and our MP have said. In addition, I find it disappointing that these banks seem to make their decisions in a vacuum failing to take into account mitigating local factors.
“In the case of the NatWest, they were dealing with over 1000 transactions a week, yet deemed that to be insufficient to keep a branch here.”
She pointed out her predecessor had suggested the banks should come together to create a hub in towns like Neston to cater for the needs of businesses and those who find it difficult to travel.
There are concerns the closure will be particularly hard on the elderly and disabled or those without their own means of transport who will struggle to go to branches elsewhere.
A spokesperson for HSBC said: “We never take the decision to close a branch lightly and we understand it’s unsettling for the local community.
“Unfortunately with an increase in the use of online and telephone banking over the past few years use of the Neston branch has fallen significantly.”
Neston still has a Barclays bank branch while the Skipton BS moved into larger premises.