Lack of customers blamed for Pateley HSBC closure

pat  A deserted Pateley Bridge High Street.  100113M5a.

pat A deserted Pateley Bridge High Street. 100113M5a.

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Pateley Bridge residents will be left with just one bank in the town after global banking giant HSBC confirmed it will be closing its branch in September 2013.

HSBC customers will now have to travel over 10 miles to Ripon or Harrogate to reach their nearest branch.

Local business owner Keith Tordoff of The Oldest Sweetshop said: “For the business community it is very disapointing.

“Their business customers will find it difficult to cash up and get change as driving to the next nearest branch is just nto viable with travel costs.”

The bank has blamed falling customer numbers for it’s decision to close.

A spokesperson for HSBC said: “Customer usage of the branch has fallen very significantly over the past few years.

“Customers habits are changing - they are now increasingly using branches where they work, or they are using the 24 hour convenience of internet or telephone banking.

Mr Tordoff added: “I think they have made it like this though, by encouraging people to do that.

“There is another bank but it needs to be made sure that this doesn’t close as well.”

The HSBC bank located at 6 High Street is currently the only bank in Nidderdale with a cash machine.

Mr Tordoff added: “The 24 hour hole in the wall facility is vital for businesses so that visitors can take out money.”

Kevin Sheard, chairman of The Nidderdale Society said: “This will be a great loss to a many people who will now have to travel some distance to conduct their business.”

He added: “The bank premises themselves are architecturally impressive. If the bank should close, then it is important that the building is used for the local good.

“Organisations based in and supporting the local environment, such as the Tourist Information Office, Nidderdale Plus and the library, could all be housed there providing a High Street presence for residents and visitors alike.

“It may also be possible to retain the ATM.”

A spokesperson for HSBC said: “We aim to leave a cash machine in Pateley Bridge, subject to gaining planning and security approval.”

Employees of the Pateley Bridge branch have been offered to opportunity to transfer to other branches and HSBC said that their staff are working with the small number of customers who use the branch to help them reorganise their finances ahead of the planned closure on 27th September.”

HSBC customers are able to withdraw and pay in cash at the Post Office.