CONCERNS have been raised after it was announced that another bank is to close in Cirencester town centre.
It was announced last Wednesday that the HSBC in the Market Place will shut on August 8 next year as part of a nationwide round of 114 branch closures – more than a quarter of the bank’s network.
TSB shut its Market Place branch earlier this year.
Leading figures have raised concerns about how the latest closure will affect customers.
MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton Brown expressed disappointment at the news.
“I am extremely disappointed,” he said.
“While I accept that banks have seen a substantial reduction in footfall in branches, I believe the banks should co-operate with each other to form joint branches and lower their overheads.
“The loss of this branch will be a severe disadvantage to a number of constituents, particularly the elderly who do not always bank online and a significant number of small businesses where Cirencester is their centre.
“I will be communicating these views to HSBC in the hope that they may reconsider their decision or at least provide a part-time service in lower-cost premises.”
Adam Vines, president of Cirencester Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s a shame and we hope that all the staff are relocated within the organisation.
“Hopefully another business will prosper on the site.”
Commenting on Facebook, some Standard readers were also critical.
Jase Keen said: “I feel really sorry for small businesses paying masses out on rents and fees only for less and less people to shop in the town.”
Teresa Packer said: “This is a nightmare as not everyone has has a phone let alone a computer.”
The bank, which is also closing its Stroud branch, said: “The decline in branch use has accelerated so much since the pandemic that some of the branches closing are now serving fewer than 250 customers a week.”
Jackie Uhi, HSBC managing director of UK distribution, said: “The decision to close a branch is never easy or taken lightly, especially if we are the last branch in an area.
“We have invested heavily in our ‘post closure’ strategy, including providing free tablet devices to selected branch customers who do not already have a device to bank digitally, alongside one-to-one coaching to help them migrate to digital banking.”