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Residents raise concerns after Lloyds announces Downham Market's last bank will close





Concerns have been raised about the future of a market town which is soon to become bank-less.

Members of the public have told the Lynn News about the detrimental impact the bank closure will have on elderly residents living in Downham, with one describing it as "ageism".

It follows the announcement two weeks ago that Lloyds bank – the only banking branch left in the town – will close on September 4.

Lloyds bank in Downham, the only bank in town, has announced its closure. Photo: Google Maps
Lloyds bank in Downham, the only bank in town, has announced its closure. Photo: Google Maps

Many people have expressed their concerns, in particular for elderly relatives.

According to Census 2021 data results, 29.9% of Downham's population are aged 65 and above and the town was named as 'the nation's care home' in an article by the Times newspaper in 2021.

One resident told the Lynn News that she was shocked to hear that a letter was sent out to people in Downham – including the elderly – informing them that they would have to go to Lynn for their banking needs.

She said: "The insensitivity and lack of empathy by anyone who could send out a letter like that, to someone who has no transport and no ability to physically get public transport of any kind, speaks volumes about the mindset of some of the people working in these financial institutions."

"To get to the bank enables older people to be independent and manage their own money. Now there's a great danger of their mental health and subsequent well-being suffering," she added.

"These people, who worked all their lives and who throughout the war maintained and supported this country more than any who currently work in these institutions, are being treated appallingly.

"If and when the people who make these decisions reach older age, they will appreciate their complete misunderstanding of the impact of their actions. It is a shame that there is little empathy before that time."

She said: "Changes happen, we all know that, but how you manage these changes is what matters and this is very poor management."

Another resident, Teresa Briscoe, is worried about how her 90-year-old mother will cope after the closure in September.

"Two years ago, my mum moved her account from HSBC to Lloyds so that she could go into a local bank branch," said Teresa.

"At 90, her hearing has deteriorated and she finds it increasingly difficult to hear others, and even harder to speak loudly and clearly enough for others to hear her.

"Being able to go into her local branch and speak on a one to one, retaining her privacy and respect has proven invaluable. Sadly this will now be denied her."

She explained that local Post Office branches do not have a private space available to speak to somebody in a quieter area.

"At age 90, my mother is not au fait with technology sufficiently to use the banking app.

"Although her need to use the bank is infrequent, there must be many others who are in a similar position as my mother. Both Downham and Denver are known for their many bungalows and flats designated for the retired.

"I struggle to understand how the decision to remove the last banking branch in the town cannot be seen as anything other than ageism."

However, it has been confirmed that a “banking hub” will come to Downham in 2024.

A Lloyds Bank spokesperson said: “Visits to our Bridge Street, Downham branch have fallen over recent years, as many customers now choose to bank digitally.

“When the branch closes, customers can use the local Post Office for everyday banking which is a short walk away, access cash at the nearby free-to-use ATMs, alongside other ways to bank such as over the phone and online, or the new Banking Hub once it is up and running.”



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