The petition of residents of the UK,
Declares that the proposed closure of the Bredbury branch of Lloyds Bank will have a negative impact on the local area; further that vulnerable members of the community will struggle if the bank closes as most do not use online banking; further that the bank staff deal with many different situations with dignity and care which is vital in a community where there is a large elderly population; further that a number of dedicated staff will be made unemployed; and further that a local petition on this matter has been signed by 580 individuals.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to stop the closure of the Bredbury branch of Lloyds Bank.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by William Wragg , Official Report, 19 May 2016; Vol. 611, c. 242 .]
Observations from the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Harriett Baldwin):
The Government thank the hon. Member for Hazel Grove (William Wragg) for his petition on the planned closure of the Lloyds Bank branch in Bredbury.
The Government are sorry to hear about the disappointment of the residents of Bredbury at the planned closure of their local Lloyds Bank branch. Although we can understand their concerns, decisions on opening and closing agencies are taken by the management team of each bank on a commercial basis. As with other banking service providers, Lloyds Bank will need to balance customer interests, market competition, and other commercial factors when considering its strategy and the Government do not seek to intervene in these decisions.
However, the Government believe that banks should act in the best interests of their customers and continue to serve the needs of the consumer as well as the wider economy. In March 2015, the major high street banks, consumer groups and the Government signed up to an industry-wide agreement to work with customers and communities to minimise the impact of branch closures and put in place alternative banking services. This protocol commits the banks to:
work with local communities to establish the impact of the branch closure, prior to its closure
find suitable alternative provision to suit individual communities
put satisfactory alternative banking services in place before a branch is closed. Options for this will include free to use cash machines, the proximity of alternative branches, and Post Office branches and mobile banking arrangements
The British Bankers’ Association has appointed Professor Russel Griggs to carry out an independent review of the protocol. The review will consider and identify best practice in implementation of the protocol and, if appropriate, make recommendations for amendments to the protocol to ensure it continues to meet its objectives. The Government look forward to seeing the conclusions of the review later this year.
It may be useful to note that many bank account providers already have an arrangement with the Post Office to provide access to their bank accounts, where customers can withdraw money, deposit cash and cheques and check balances at all 11,500 Post Office branches in the UK.
If other banks in the local area have more extensive facilities, and the residents of Bredbury wish to consider moving to an alternative bank, they may be interested in using the Current Account Switch Service. The switch service is free to use, comes with a guarantee to protect customers from financial loss if something goes wrong, and redirects any payments mistakenly sent to the old account for 36 months, providing further assurance for customers.