Lloyds Bank to close.
Notice posted on the window of Lloyds Bank in the Market Square ‘This Branch will close on October 12th’ and goes on to give details of alternative branches in Bedford and Biggleswade. no doubt the level of activity in the branch has fallen below the required threshold to keep it open. Also, with Barclays Bank still in town, Lloyds is not the last one left
Whilst the world has turned to online and electronic banking, what about all those cash based businesses that rely on being able to bank their money?
Also. what about those individuals who have yet to embrace technology or lack the capability of travelling out to Bedford or Biggleswade? This is going to be quite tricky, especially for those relying on public transport – the issue of the 73 service has yet to be resolved and the 83 town service is due to finish in September
There are limited solutions available – fortunately, the Post Office In Sandy accepts cheques to be paid in to all major banks (although there are certain restrictions – your bank paying in slip in your bank paying in envelope). No cash however and it takes a day or two longer to clear
So, does everyone have to move to the only bank left in town? Switching is easy these days and can be achieved in under a week. However 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 a very 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 will be offering any banking services, as it does in some of its larger stores.
Update 12th October 2016: The Sandy Branch of Lloyds Bank closed its doors for the last time. Within a couple of days, all trace of branding and the ATM had been expunged, leaving the town with just one branch of Barclays Bank and the Post Office (who wasted no time in promoting their services for people with bank accounts elsewhere). Basically, they are offering deposit and withdrawal services for most major banks, although if paying in cheques, you need to have special deposit envelopes issued by the bank in question – these are available free-of-charge from the banks but need to be ordered in one of their branches, or over the phone (some if not all are freephone numbers, so no additional costs incurred). Cash deposits can be made directly, 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.