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HSBC - the world's local bank? Well not if you live in Churchdown, Gloucester

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 06, 2014

HSBC - the world's local bank? Well not if you live in Churchdown, Gloucester
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CAMPAIGNERS have vowed to fight to save Churchdown’s HSBC bank, after it emerged the branch is due to close on June 20.

The St John’s Avenue branch first opened in 1962, but its doors will shut this summer as more customers switch to internet banking.

The last day of business at the branch is expected to be on June 20.

Pearl Stokes, Churchdown Parish Council leader, said: “I have lived in Churchdown since 1966 and it is the only bank I have used. If the bank goes, the heart of Churchdown will be taken away the question will be asked who goes next.

“We have a lot of people of all generations do not drive and they are now being asked to catch buses to either Gloucester or Cheltenham.

“I personally use it all the time I am not interested in internet banking and have never used a cash point I and many others use the Bank regularly I pay my accounts by visiting this bank also if I wish to send money to our son and his family in Australia.

“The bank is always busy and used by local people of all ages. When I go in there you see businesses banking their cash too.

“Soldiers from the barracks also use it regularly. I have been asked if there is going to be a petition this is something the parish is looking at. I will be joining others to keep it open.”

Loyal customer George Ridgeon has been banking with HSBC, formerly Midland Bank for half a century.

“I joined Midland Bank 50 years ago in 1964 when I started motorcycle racing,” he said.

“At the time, I had to buy £2 10 shillings of postal orders so I was disappointed to hear the closure of the Churchdown branch.

“If I read the information correctly even the cash machine will be closed.

“I admit I do not use it a great deal, mainly for when I need cash. I either send my carer down so he can draw some money out of the cash machine and I then transfer him some.

“This closure will regrettably mean having to change my routine, so the bank may lose out as I change the way I manage my money and pension.”

A spokesman for HSBC said changes to customer habits had led to the move, with internet and telephone banking offering a 24 hour service fit for the 21st century.

He said: “Our branches are a very important way for our customers to bank with us and we have spent over £100 million in recent years upgrading and improving them.

“However, we need to ensure that our branches are in the right locations for our customers and on occasions this means that we need to close a branch where customer footfall has fallen dramatically or there has been a shift in customer shopping patterns. Our branch in Churchdown is a case in point. Customer usage of this branch has fallen very significantly over the past few years.

“Customers habits are changing. Our network has to be 'fit for purpose' and we have to ensure that our branches are located in areas where they are used.

“Decisions like this are never easy, but we are working with the small number of customers who use the branch to help them reorganise their finances ahead of the planned closure.”

Members of staff who man the branch will transfer to other HSBC branches in the area.

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8 comments

  • bonzaharris1  |  April 07 2014, 9:32PM

    Nibnobs, the advantage of the HSBC bank where it is, it is on a bus route, she can get off the bus outside the bank and catch the next bus back if she isn't up to walking as it is quite a distance from where she lives. She, like others in her position will probably have to catch a bus into town and go to the bank. That in itself may not sound much of a problem, but at her age she is a soft target for anyone who is low enough to mug an old woman using a cash machine or coming out of the bank, and there are those who will.

  • NibNobs  |  April 07 2014, 8:29PM

    Bonzaharris, the best hope for your mum is Tesco open a bank branch inside their new Churchdown store, they have the room....and Tesco Bank (and Asda Money) are not planning a set of machines they will have 'real' people, yes face to face banking is back.... hoorah!

    |   1
  • bonzaharris1  |  April 07 2014, 5:05PM

    My Mother lives in Churchdown and relies on this bank, she is 87 years old and has trouble with the remote control for her TV, let alone online banking. There are quite a few retirement homes and elderly that live in Churchdown, many elderly like my Mother do not have a computer, because they just wouldn't have a clue on how to log on let alone use one. Its not really fair to assume that everyone these days have or could use a computer and do online banking, there are many elderly like my Mother, who live very independently but really are too old to be expected learn how to use a computer and understand online banking, with old age comes some confusion and bad memory not helpful when remembering passwords let alone using the wretched thing in the first place. Pity the banks don't take their Customers into account before closing services in a community that is quite large and likely to get larger with all the proposed developments.

  • NibNobs  |  April 07 2014, 11:09AM

    Sadly for people like Mrs Stokes they just cannot 'ignore' the internet any longer or ignore the convienience of cash machines. I wonder what Mrs Stokes will do when she can't get out to a supermarket and get her groceries herself, without using the internet you cannot order goods on-line on Asda.com, Tesco.com, Sainsburys.com, Waitrose.com, Iceland.com and now Morrisons.com.

    |   1
  • simhedges  |  April 07 2014, 12:29AM

    "I personally use it all the time I am not interested in internet banking and have never used a cash point I and many others use the Bank regularly I pay my accounts by visiting this bank also if I wish to send money to our son and his family in Australia." - Time to get on the internet, and learn how to use a cashpoint machine.

    |   3
  • NibNobs  |  April 06 2014, 11:30PM

    When Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys put a proper bank branch in their existing large supermarkets with it's free parking these traditional 'high street' banks are finished. Most people are desperate to change to a real alternative bank to their own. Why would anyone want to pay to park just to deposit money in a high street bank in Gloucester city centre when you can do face to face banking whilst you do your weekly shop?

    |   1
  • MrGarnet  |  April 06 2014, 7:36PM

    Awfull bank.The Churchdown branch was one of the best.Why don't they just pack up and go to China as there are new entrants on the way TSB/Virgin etc.And they are giving a poor service here.

    |   2
  • taylke  |  April 06 2014, 4:48PM

    Just like any other business, it's "outlets" have to be profitable and it would seem that this branch isn't. Churchdown isn't exactly in the back of beyond so I suspect most people do obtain their cansh, and do their banking, elsewhere.

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