MP writes to Chancellor with concerns about Lloyds and Halifax bank branch closures in Alnwick

Local MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has written to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to express concerns about the closures of Alnwick’s last banks.
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It follows the announcement by Lloyds Banking Group that it will close its Lloyds and Halifax branches on Bondgate Within on January 15, 2025.

As an alternative, LINK – the cash machine network – is planning to set up a banking hub which customers of any of the major banks can use to deposit and withdraw cash over the counter.

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Ms Trevelyan said: “I’m very concerned by this news. I’ve already written to the Chancellor for an urgent update and I’m meeting LINK about the banking hub immediately. I’ll keep folk updated.”

The Halifax and Lloyds branches in Alnwick are set to close. Picture: GoogleThe Halifax and Lloyds branches in Alnwick are set to close. Picture: Google
The Halifax and Lloyds branches in Alnwick are set to close. Picture: Google

The closures will leave the Post Office as the only banking facility in the town, although it does not offer a full range of services.

Barclays, which closed its Alnwick branch last year, continues to offer a ‘pop-up cashless banking site’ at the Playhouse.

In her letter to the Chancellor, Ms Trevelyan writes: ‘My constituents and I are concerned that the protection of ‘the last bank in town’ is not being applied – as well as the lack of community consultation seemingly required of banks before they take these decisions.

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‘North Northumberland is an incredibly rural area. The nearest alternative branches are now more than 20 miles away.

‘Post Office services, while invaluable, are not a full replacement when town after town after town loses their banks too.”

The news was described by Cllr Gordon Castle, Alnwick ward member on Northumberland County Council, as ‘a real body blow and an obvious move to the cashless society’.

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Lloyds and Halifax to close bank branches in Alnwick with new banking hub planne...

Lloyds Banking Group says the decision is based on declining usage over recent years as customers increasingly choose to use online, mobile or telephone banking to manage their money.

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It also points out the number of transactions by personal customers have fallen by 58% at the Lloyds branch, and 52% at the Halifax, over the last five years.

A Lloyds Banking Group spokesperson said: “As many customers now choose to bank through their mobile app or online, visits to our Lloyds Bank and Halifax branches in Alnwick have fallen over recent years.

"Customers can use the local Post Office for everyday banking which is a short walk away from both branches, and access cash at the nearby free-to-use ATMs. Customers can also manage their money online, by calling us, or at the new banking hub once it is up and running.”

Banking hubs are a shared banking space, similar to a traditional bank branch, but available to everyone.

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The hub will consist of a counter service operated by Post Office employees, where customers of any bank can withdraw and deposit cash, make bill payments and carry out regular banking transactions.

In addition, there will be private spaces where customers can speak to community bankers from their own bank for more complicated matters that require specialist knowledge or privacy.

The banks will be working on a rotating basis, so there will be staff from different banks available on different days.

The banking hub will be delivered by Cash Access UK. Over the next few weeks, it will begin to engage with the local community and will start to look for potential sites.