THE CLOSURE of the last bank in a Tameside town will leave people ‘in the lurch’ and unable to put in and draw out money, it has been claimed.
Halifax has announced its branch on Manchester Road in Denton will shut its doors permanently on August 30.
And the town’s MP, Andrew Gwynne, believes that would have a huge effect on people.
He said: “I appreciate that the way people bank is changing, but local people need to be able to access a physical bank, especially if they are not comfortable or able to access online services.
“I’m incredibly concerned that this decision will leave local people in the lurch.
“I am also disappointed at the lack of communication from Halifax before reaching this decision.
“I was only informed of the closure a few minutes before the public announcement was made, leaving me no time to argue against this decision on behalf of residents.
“I will be speaking with the bank directly and urging them to reverse this decision.”
Halifax believe the lack of usage of the branch contributed to the decision to close.
They said: “Like many other high street businesses, we’ve seen people using our branches less frequently in recent years as more customers choose to do most of their everyday banking online.
“As a result, we’ve made the difficult decision to close this branch due to customers using it less often.
“In addition, the majority of customers are also using alternative ways to bank and we have another branch close by.”
A report highlighted that 307 customers, 76 per cent of whom are aged 35 and over, used the branch regularly in 12 months to October, that 52 per cent have also used other Halifax branches, rising to 75 per cent when online and telephone banking was included.
More than a quarter have also used the Post Office, where customers will be able to use once the doors are closed.
The number of transactions done in the branch had dropped by almost 50 per cent between 2017 and 2022.
As well as online and telephone banking, Halifax highlighted there are branches in Hyde and Ashton-Under-Lyne, which are easily accessed by public transport, and there are three cash machines in the town.
Halifax say they ‘plan to’ speak to the MP, as well as the banking team and senior representatives from the Post Office, the area manager responsible for nearest three Post Offices to the branch, the National Federation of Sub Postmasters, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Mental Health UK, the Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK.
Denton has seen TSB move out of the town in May last year, while its RBS branch closed in 2018.
Halifax is one of only nine branches across the country closing as part of a wider raft of closures by the Lloyds Banking Group.
A spokesperson said: “Our customers are increasingly using digital channels to manage their money – we now have over 20 million regular digital users so it’s important we continue to develop the online services our customers want to use.
“Our branches will continue to be an option for our customers, alongside our telephone services, mobile app and online bank.”
“All of the branch locations announced for closure have a Post Office and at least one free to use ATM nearby.
“As with all proposed closures, these plans have been through LINK’s independent cash-access assessment, where a number of enhancements have been recommended.
“All colleagues who work at these branches will move to a role at another branch or in another part of our business, there are no job losses as a result of these changes.”