Bank branch set to close

The soon-to-close Lloyds Bank branch in Standish
The soon-to-close Lloyds Bank branch in Standish

High street banking in Wigan has been dealt another blow.

Lloyds put up a poster outside its Standish branch at the end of last week announcing that it will be shutting its doors at the end of May.

It is disappointing that such a busy branch is set to close, especially as hundreds of new families will be moving into Standish in the next few years

Standish Voice spokesman

Customers were left surprised by the sudden revelation at the Market Street outlet, giving no reason why it would be closing and simply instead offering the nearest three Lloyds in Wigan, Westhoughton and Preston.

But nationally the nature of banking is changing.

Far fewer people walk into a town centre branch these days to conduct their transactions, preferring instead to do it online from the comfort of their desk or phone.

There has been a long and steady decline in banks’ building stock. At one time every town, and even sometimes villages, had branches but they gradually closed as custom dwindled.

A spokesman from community pressure group Standish Voice said: “It is disappointing that such a busy branch is set to close, especially as hundreds of new families will be moving into Standish in the next few years.

“We think a building in such a prime spot will not be empty for long and look forward to seeing what kind of business moves in.”

The closure is set to be the first of several throughout the borough this year and comes at a time of mixed fortunes for Wigan’s banks.

Staff at Wigan’s branch of Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) felt the relief earlier this month after narrowly avoiding the axe as part of YBS’s cuts of over 400 jobs.

Its chief executive Mike Renier had earlier said: “The driving forces behind the proposed branch closures are shifts in market conditions and an increasing desire among customers to transact digitally rather than on the high street.”

Staff at Yorkshire Bank were not so lucky, however, with the King Street branch’s closure announced for May 31 in a move slammed by union bosses as “deeply devastating.”

Another Lloyds branch in Market Street, Hindley, is on the list, as are Pemberton’s NatWest branch - earmarked for closure on June 6 after bosses revealed that the number of customers coming through its door had dropped by 25 per cent in the last five years - and the Royal Bank of Scotland in Leigh.

More than 400 banks and building society branches across the UK will be shut down this year or early 2018 - a number of which are based in Wigan. And 2017 is set to be a record year in terms of the number of branches closing, adding to the more than 1,000 which closed across the country over the past two years.

HSBC will cut the highest number of branches this year, with 117 reported to be facing the axe. None of its Wigan branches have been included in its cull so far.

Lloyds first announced that it would be closing 200 branches, with the loss of 3,000 jobs, last July saying that its intention was to save £1.4bn by the end of 2017.