‘This is a hugely difficult situation’ - Town to suffer as last bank closes

The Bungay branch of Lloyds bank has closed. Picture: Nick Butcher

The Bungay branch of Lloyds bank has closed. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: James Carr

The mayor of Bungay has spoken of the “layers of issues” the town now faces following the closure of its last bank.

Last week Lloyds Banking Group closed its branch in Market Place as part of 32 closures across the UK, including Halesworth and Southwold.

It is the fifth bank closure the town has suffered in recent years and leaves it without either a local branch or 24-hour cash machine.

Mayor Mary Matthews said: “I’m devastated, it’s very upsetting.

“They have a sign in the window which reads ‘By your side for 250 years’ – it’s the ultimate irony really.”

Ms Matthews believes the closure’s impact will be far-reaching across the town and has created “layers of issues”.

She said: “There are issues for the elderly who relied on the bank in the town. They now have to go to another town – but how do they get to this alterative town?

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“They may not be able to drive or use public transport.

“Businesses in the town now don’t have anywhere to get change or deposit money.”

The mayor also stated her concerns for the viability of the town’s Thursday market.

She said: “For people shopping at the market often their purchases are impulse buys and there has always been a cash point just behind the market.

“That is no longer there.”

Ms Matthews believes unless market traders update their systems and use card machines they could see a decline in business.

She added: “This is a hugely difficult situation and one that could have been avoided.”

Ms Matthews is currently working with Waveney MP Peter Aldous to provide a pop-up bank service in the town.

A spokesman for Lloyds explained the reason behind the closure was the changing ways customers use the bank, such as internet banking, which resulted in the bank being used less often.

And the bank will now be visiting the town with its mobile branch service.

The spokesman said: “This new mobile branch will provide a vital service to the local communities it visits, by giving customers access to everyday banking services such as making deposits, withdrawing cash and paying bills.

“Our mobile branch colleagues will also be on hand to help customers access online banking and answer any general account or product enquiries.”