Lloyds Bank is closing branches at Chatteris and Soham as part of 49 going nationwide

Lloyds Bank, Chatteris, is due to close.

Lloyds Bank, Chatteris, is due to close. - Credit: Archant

Two rural high street bank closures has prompted a business leader to slam the decision saying it is a death knell for the local economy.

Lloyds Bank, Soham, is due to close.

Lloyds Bank, Soham, is due to close. - Credit: Archant

Lloyds Bank is pressing ahead with the closure of branches in Chatteris and Soham in October.

Chatteris branch had 70 customers use the branch on a regular weekly basis, with 486 customers on a regular monthly basis. Customers must now travel to March or Ely.

Soham had 43 customers on a regular weekly basis and 521 on a regular monthly basis. Their nearest branch is now Ely or Newmarket.

Alan Todd, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) area leader for Greater Cambridge, said: “The rapid pace of bank branch closures including the latest two in Chatteris and Soham, is hurting businesses all over the county.

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“Hundreds of our members regularly use branches to deposit and withdraw cash, access advice around new finance and receive in-person support when online banking services crash.

“We are getting to the point that there will be no bank branches out of large towns and cities and this is having a devastating effect on the high streets of our market towns and villages.

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“On top of that, we are also losing cash points since LINK announced cuts to cash machine funding a few months ago.

“This squeeze on banking services and free access to cash means less footfall on our struggling high streets and less cashflow in local economies. A spokesman for Lloyds Bank said: “We are constantly transforming our branch network as we reflect changing customer demand for branch transactions and service.

“Sometimes this will mean we make the difficult decision to close branches. When deciding to close a branch, we take a number of factors into account to help us understand the impact on our customers and the local community – including ways for customers to continue to access banking services.

The local branch closures are two of 49 being shut nationwide and will affect a total of 1,230 jobs.

In 2011 Lloyds Bank had 2,900 outlets. Following the latest closures there will be 1,750 branches.

Like other banks Lloyds has been reducing the size of its network as customers have switched to online and telephone banking.

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