NEWS that a leading high street bank will close the doors on its Helston branch has caused anger with some residents and business owners.
Last week our website (helstonadvertiser.co.uk) exclusively revealed that the HSBC branch in Coinagehall Street will face the axe in February next year with local people commenting on the story to express their disappointment.
One unhappy business owner said: “Our business has been with them for nine years. A high percentage of our customers are elderly and still use cheques instead of online banking. So our nearest branch will now be Falmouth. Time for a change.”
However, the news did not unsettle everyone with one person commenting: “Shame but I have had an online bank (cahoot and first direct) since 2001, never stepped foot in one since. All my cheques go in the post, they supply the envelopes.”
Although I can understand why banks want to reduce the number of expensive branches they keep open when more customers than ever are using online banking services, should they be expected to remain open to help local businesses?
I have not needed to visit a branch in several months for my personal account yet visit weekly for business transactions to pay in cheques and collect cash to pay our delivery personnel.
Cash flow is vital to the survival of any business and with a high number of people still paying via cheque, I need to visit a local branch or face additional costs to travel further afield. Also, to post cheques in an envelope would cause an unnecessary delay in receiving payment.
Ironically below their logo is the line “The World’s Local Bank”, perhaps we can ask it to be asterisked with *except Helston, Cornwall.
Although the way we bank is changing, a ComRes survey has shown that 70% of people think it’s important to have local branch access. Do we still need branches on the high street? Or should we embrace the digital takeover?