Banking giants HSBC and NatWest have dealt a double whammy to Horncastle residents and business owners by ruling out any chance of a U-turn on closing their branches in the town’s High Street.
There was widespread condemnation of both banks when details of their plans to pull out of Horncastle were first revealed in The News earlier this year.
A petition was launched amid calls for the banks to think again.
However, HSBC has confirmed it will shut on Friday week (June 9) while NatWest will close its doors on September 26.
The banks have let customers know about the dates by placing notices in their respective front windows.
Although two banks - Barclays and Lloyds - will remain open, the loss of HSBC and NatWest has been described as a double blow for the town’s economy.
One business owner, who did not want to be named, told The News: “I’ve banked at the HSBC for years and can’t understand why they are closing.
“Yes, I can move everything to another bank - or make a 25-mile round trip to Louth.
“Yes, you can bank online but you can’t pay in £100-worth of coins through your computer.
“However, it is the convenience of banking in your town.”
Resident Mark Anderson (34) said: “Losing one bank would be bad enough, but two? It doesn’t send out a great message about the town.
“Everyone is asking how long the two remaining banks will remain open.”
Pensioner Eric Holland said: “They keep talking about computers but not everyone has one.
Even if I did, I wouldn’t trust it with my money.
“You hear about fraud every day.”
Mum-of-two Sarah Jenkins (27) added: “Banks bring people into towns. They attract new businesses.
“It’s not just the actual banks either. I expect we will lose a couple of cash points.”
However, Nick Radford (43) said the banks were closing for a reason.
“If all these people complaining about them closing actually went through the doors, they wouldn’t close,” he said. “There’s other things to bring people into Horncastle - not just banks.
“The town needs to sell and market itself better. Everyone is too negative.”
Both banks say they are closing because of a lack of footfall - and the fact an increasing amount of transactions can be carried out online.
NatWest adds a similar message and suggests its customers can ‘pop in and see us at our Skegness branch’ which is actually further away than Louth.
The HSBC says customers can use its nearest branch and cash machine in Louth and points out ‘selected services’ are also available at Horncastle Post Office.