Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Village bank to close in 'march of progress'

THE last remaining bank in Goring is to shut.

The TSB in High Street, which converted from Lloyds TSB when the two companies split in 2013, is one of 29 branches nationwide that will close in early June.

This follows the closure of the HSBC bank on the opposite side of High Street, which was the village’s only other bank, in 2011.

TSB says it cannot justify keeping the branches open as they are “very quiet” and often serve fewer than 200 people a week.

Staff at the Goring branch have been offered jobs at the nearest alternative branch in Reading while customers can still check their balance, withdraw cash and make deposits at post offices.

When the HSBC shut, Goring’s mobility issues group successfully campaigned for its cash machine to remain.

John Boler, who chairs the group, said it was unlikely to take action this time because the TSB does not have a cash machine. He said: “It affects us directly as our account is with TSB and we’re yet to decide our next steps.

“There are a lot of elderly people in Goring and many are suspicious of online banking so they prefer to have a walk-in facility.

“I know that many of our members use the branch as I’ve taken them there so I’m sure they will miss it.

“However, it’s hard to know how to respond to the relentless march of progress.

“We face the choice of paying more to keep branches open or being willing to travel further distances.

“People still have access to their cash and most of their banking services through the post office, which is probably the best we can hope for.”

The mobility group ran a successful fund-raising campaign over Christmas to keep Goring’s Readibus service going until at least April 2019.

The fortnightly dial-a-ride shuttles up to 11 people with disabilities into Reading, where all the major banks have branches.

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