Concern for elderly as bank branch closes

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ELDERLY people risk being ‘left behind in a changing world’, Age Concern chairman Ben Shenton has warned, following news that another out-of-town bank branch is to close.

Lloyds Bank International is to shut its operation at Five Oaks in the latest in a series of closures announced by Jersey banks, something Mr Shenton described as ‘disappointing but sadly not unexpected’.

Blaming the Five Oaks closure on falling customer numbers and the growth of online banking, Lloyds said it was also shutting its St Martin’s branch in Guernsey and the one serving customers in Alderney.

The closures will result in 34 job losses across the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, including 18 in Jersey.

Lloyds said that, wherever possible, they would seek to redeploy any colleagues impacted by the announcement.

Age Concern has previously expressed fears about the loss of local services for the elderly in the Island.

Mr Shenton said the closure of branch banks was not just about the loss of banking services. ‘It is also the loss of face-to-face interaction, the security of talking to an individual and for many, convenience,’ he said.

‘If you go into St Helier you need to pay to park, and have a long walk to your bank due to the removal of easy access and on-street parking.

‘You will need to pay to visit your bank branch.

‘Many older people are not online, and for some the cost of getting online is prohibitively high. Many have real concerns about security issues amid frequent reports of scams.

‘In addition, it is not uncommon for older people to face increasing difficulties with mobility, physical disabilities such as sight loss, hearing loss or arthritis, or cognitive decline, which can make it difficult to remember passwords and security codes,’ Mr Shenton said.

Lloyds’ closure of the Five Oaks branch follows a similar announcement two years ago by NatWest International, which shut its Longueville and Les Quennevais branches.

Its St Aubin branch closed in 2015.

Alasdair Gardner, Lloyds Bank International’s islands director, confirmed that its Five Oaks branch would close later this year following what he described as ‘a significant reduction’ in customers throughout the past ten years.

‘Our customers have more choice than ever in how they bank with us, with many carrying out their everyday banking online.

‘We continue to invest in our branches, as seen with the refurbishment of the Lloyds Bank in Broad Street.

‘We have two branches in Jersey at 8 Broad Street and Route des Quennevais, St Brelade, which are a short drive away and also accessible by public transport, and customers can also continue to use nearby free-to-use ATMs,’ he said.

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