Sir Gavin Williamson welcomed the announcement that a Banking Hub will be opened in Stone to cater to the needs of the elderly and vulnerable as well as small businesses.
Sir Gavin met with representatives of Lloyds Bank to discuss options for maintaining face-to-face banking services in Stone following the announced closure of the local branch. The Lloyds Bank branch in Stone is the last physical bank in the town, and its planned closure has caused worry amongst local residents. As such, he welcomed the news that LINK has recommended a Banking Hub in Stone- customers of any of the main UK banks, including Lloyds Bank, will be able to use the facility once it is up and running. Sir Gavin was pleased to hear Lloyds Bank have agreed to delay closing their branch for up to 12 months, (from 19th July 2023) to allow for a smooth transition of banking services in the community.
The Banking Hub will offer a range of services, from the depositing of cash and cheques, cash withdrawals, balance checks, bill payments, top-up services, and even assistance for small businesses needing change. Moreover, Community Bankers from the main UK banks will be visiting the hubs, based on demand to support more complex face-to-face banking consultations. This facility bears many similarities to the service operated by Barclays in Wombourne, which Sir Gavin had also campaigned for following the closure of the local physical bank.
Sir Gavin said: “I know how concerned residents rightly are that effectively 'the last bank in town' was earmarked for closure. I too share this anxiety and know how important access to cash is particularly for the elderly and vulnerable.”
“I am very pleased with the announcement that a Banking Hub will be opened. I know this will be a great relief to many, and I am assured by Lloyds Bank that the branch will remain open up until July 2024, to allow for the transition of banking services for the local community.”
A Lloyds Bank spokesperson: “As many customers now choose to bank online or through their mobile app, visits to our Stone branch have fallen over recent years. Customers can use the local Post Office for everyday banking which is a short walk away, access cash at the nearby free-to-use ATMs, alongside other ways to bank such as over the phone and online, or the new Banking Hub once it is up and running.”