The Skipton Building Society announced that it will be shutting down its branch located in the Blackpool town centre. According to the building society, the decision comes in light of the fact that many of their customers are now conducting their businesses over the internet. This move comes in light of several other financial institutions also announcing their plans to shut down branches in Fylde. Among these institutions is HSBC which is located on the same street as the building society.
However, there are those who are stating that these closures will hurt the older generation, many of whom don’t make use of internet banking. The branch of the building society is expected to officially shut its doors on 22nd September. The building society’s director of distribution and financial advice, Andrew Bottomley stated that they have tried to keep off from closing the branch for as long as they could and this will actually be the first time that they’ve closed a branch in a number of years. He continued by saying that despite the best efforts of those working at the branch, the numbers of people who actually use the branch has been decreasing. He also stated that while this was happening, there was a 65% increase in their online customer base and the customer contact centre has also registered a significant increase in enquiries. This combination of factors is what has led to the decision to close the branch.
This decision comes just as Lloyds Bank also announced that it was going to close its branch located at Whitegate Drive. Yorkshire Bank also announced that it would be closing its Cleveleys branch which is located on Crescent East. The shutting down of branches of financial institutions is however not something new. Last year alone, Natwest announced the closure of branches in Kirkham, Fleetwood, Lytham and Poulton while HSBC also announced the closure of its Lytham branch located on Clifton Street.
Cleveleys representative, Coun Andrea Kay, stated that many banks are now turning towards this business model and it’s mostly the older population who are being negatively affected. Skipton has said that it will make efforts to ensure the staff members who work in the branch that will be closing find work in the other branches of the bank located in St Annes and Cleveleys. Mr Bottomley concluded by saying that they couldn’t use members’ money to keep a branch open if it wasn’t sustainable.