Dales residents may be left stranded by cuts to banking services which will see four branches of high street banks close over the next few months.
Theree closures have been confirmed as NatWest in Hathersage and RBS Darley Dale are both due to shut for good on September 3 and Natwest Tideswell will cease trading on September 23.
They follow unconfirmed reports that HSBC’s Matlock branch stops trading today, Friday, June 12, as the group “trims” its retail banking branches nationwide and aims to cut 8,000 jobs in the UK.
Chairman of Matlock Town Team Rob Short, who also owns 2010 on Dale Road, said that, even though the Nottingham Building Society has opened a new branch in Matlock, the string of closures will put consumers under pressure to either move banks or travel long distances to the nearest branch.
He added: “It’s disappointing that two have closed in the space of two weeks - co-op and now HSBC. It’s saying to people that they’ve got to switch, and it’s also driving people to shop in other towns as they think, I’ve got to pop to the bank and I might as well do my shopping while I’m there
“I appreciate more and more banking is done online but it’s a community service that’s disappearing, and there is still a very large age group who much prefer to go into the branch to use the counter service.
“It’s all very ell saying people can use the Post Office, but they simply can’t provide the full service.”
As a businessman himself, Mr Short says he now has to travel to Chesterfield or Alfreton to do his banking with the Co-op.
NatWest said it was working hard to ensure there were a number of alternative ways for customers to continue banking with them in Tideswell.
A spokesperson for RBS and NatWest said: “We have reached an agreement with the local Post Office, so that our customers can check their balance, deposit and withdraw funds, and business customers can get coinage”, and the bank would maintain an ATM in the community, as well as providing a mobile branch at set times.
They added: “The number of transactions taking place at Tideswell branch has dropped by 25 per cent since 2011 and only 19 customers use the branch on a regular weekly basis. Eight of these customers already use other branches in the area.”
Similar arrangement will be put in place in Hathersage and Darley Dale.
“Branch transactions have declined by around 36 per cent since 2010 whilst online and mobile transactions have grown by more than 300%. Only 9 per cent of total transactions are now undertaken in branches.
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