Lloyds in the firing line as MP slams decision to shut banks

The Lloyds Bank in Coningsby.
The Lloyds Bank in Coningsby.

Leading politicians, businesses and residents have condemned the closure of three branches of Lloyds Bank in East Lindsey and called for the company to think again.

Leading politicians, businesses and residents have condemned the closure of three branches of Lloyds Bank in East Lindsey and called for the company to think again.

Lloyds is shutting branches in Coningsby, Alford and Mablethorpe in October as part of a nationwide cull that has put more than 1,000 jobs at risk.

The banking giant says it is responding to changes in customer habits and a significant reduction in footfall at all three branches.

Louth and Horncastle MP Victoria Atkins has led opposition and accused Lloyds of failing to consult properly.

She was backed by East Lindsey District Council leader Craig Leyland who expressed his ‘regret, concern and sadness’ at the decision.

Ms Atkins said: “I was greatly disappointed to hear the announcement.

“This affects loyal Lloyds customers and staff, as well as local businesses and people who pop in to use the bank every so often.

“Lloyds have questions to answer as there seems to have been very little consultation locally in relation to their proposals.

“Also, bank employees do not yet have clarity regarding their career prospects. They deserve answers as a matter of urgency.

“I have written to the Chief Executive of Lloyds highlighting my concerns and urging them to reconsider the closures.”

Coun Leyland also questioned the lack of consultation and said the bank had ‘disregard’ for the needs of business and residential customers.

He said: “We fully expect the withdrawal of banking facilities in these areas will have both a direct and knock-on detriment in terms of reducing footfall and vitality within our town centres.

“It will also leave a loyal business and residential customer base without access to dedicated financial services across many of our rural and coastal communities.

“This is further exacerbated by poor broadband coverage in remote areas and a subsequent inability for some customers to access

online services effectively.”

Coun Leyland stressed the closures also undermined the efforts of ELDC to retain services and support a healthy economy.

The closures mean there are no banks in Coningsby and Alford and just one branch (Barclays) in Mablethorpe.

Town councillors in Coningsby said the closure had come as a ‘total shock’.

The town council said: “It has been quoted that upwards of 85 businesses do all their banking at Coningsby travelling from Woodhall Spa, Billinghay and surrounding area.

“What thought has been given to the older generation who may have travel/transport issues including time and mobility?

“The outlying areas have very poor internet access and even though to some of us it may seem strange, not everyone owns or wants to use a computer especially for banking.

“There was absolutely no consultation.

“How can Lloyds justify the closure quoting that the usage is down by 15% in the past year?

“What about the fact that the opening hours were cut by 40% last year? It doesn’t take mathematician to work out that this shows an increase in business overall for the few hours that the bank is open.

“A mobile service has been suggested as an alternative. Why not just leave things as they are?

“Surely for the small outlay that this branch costs - and the business generated - it makes more financial sense.

“The council urges Lloyds to look again and talk to the users at these branches, not just in Coningsby but Alford and Mablethorpe too.