Councillor slams 'rotten' Swaffham TSB branch axe decision
A Swaffham councillor has condemned a bank's decision to close its branch in the town as "rotten".
The TSB site in the Market Place is one of 70 branches which are set to shut next year under plans announced by the company earlier today.
The bank says the branch conducts around a third fewer transactions than its company average and there are alternative means of accessing money for residents.
But Ian Sherwood, one of the town's Breckland Council representatives, said he was "tremendously disappointed" and accused bosses of losing sight of a key element of their business.
He said: "I know people in their 80s who don't use the internet and they still go into the TSB.
"I know they have to focus on their shareholders and profits. I get that. But they must understand they have a moral responsibility to some of their more traditional customers.
"TSB has made a big thing of being there for customers and it's a real kick in the teeth for those customers. It's rotten."
The bank says 90 per cent of the UK population will still be within 20 minutes' drive of a TSB branch when the new closure programme is completed next June. The Swaffham branch is due to close in May.
The company has also claimed it is not closing sites where its premises are "the last branch in town", even though the only financial institutions that will remain in Swaffham when the branch closes are the Nationwide and Yorkshire building societies. It says it takes both banks and building societies into account.
Robin Bulloch, TSB's chief customer officer, said earlier: "Closing branches is an incredibly difficult decision to take, but we have to respond to the changes in the way people bank and provide the right mix of services for all our customers now and into the future."
But Mr Sherwood said the company's travel claim was "totally unrealistic" for an area like Swaffham and suggested the decision had been taken without local knowledge.
He has called for residents to join him in making representations to the company, though he admits he does not expect the plan to change now.
He said: "The decision has been made. It's just so disappointing.
"I shall be contacting them in my capacity as a councillors and I would urge local customers, if they are concerned to do the same."