Lloyds Bank closed
Lloyds Bank in the Market Square closed on October 12th 2016. The nearest alternatives are in Biggleswade (4 miles), or Bedford (10 miles). The only remaining bank in Sandy is now Barlcays, on the corner of High Street and Park Road. The Post Office in the Market Square now accepts cheque payments into your account by use of a special bank specific envelope. Clearance takes a couple of working days longer (allow up to 7 working days in total). For businesses and individuals, cash deposits can be made directly,through their systems using bank paying in slips – again depends on the bank in question – the Post Office has a list on their website. Notable exceptions are Co-op, Sainsbury’s and Tesco Bank.
What however about those individuals who have yet to embrace technology or lack the capability of travelling out to Bedford or Biggleswade but want to mainly because they prefer to use a bank branch? This is going to be quite tricky, especially for those relying on public transport – the revamped Stagecoach 73 service does at least allow these journeys to be made relatively easily, although for those not benefiting from a local authority bus pass may find it a costly process.
So, does everyone have to move to the only bank left in town? Not if you are able to access your account via the Post Office. However, switching is easy these days and can be achieved in under a week. There are some caveats – for example, transferring all your direct debits and standing orders does not include any overdraft facilities – you have to reapply and there’s no guarantee that it will be granted, even if you have had one for years with your existing bank. Even worse, if you make the assumption that everything will be transferred and fail to ask for an overdraft facility at the point of applying to switch, you will be treated as a totally new customer with no track record and may have to wait 3-6 months before being considered.
All in all not an entirely satisfactory situation but another example of how profit vs service is broadly incompatible. It will be interesting to see whether the new town centre Co-op is ever likely to offer any banking services, as it does in some of its larger stores. Given the fact that the Co-op Bank has been up for sale for a couple of years without success, due mainly to potential buyers being unwilling to take on the banks liabilities, which are significant, this would seem unlikely.
Update July 2017: The Lloyds Bank premises, remained empty until a couple of weeks ago, until a new business took a lease – namely Mayfair Homecare, a social care organisation operated in Sandy by Domriss Care Limited .. .