MP meets with bank officials to discuss closures

SHUT The HSBC bank in Lee-on-the-Solent is one of several which has been closed recently. Inset, MP Caroline Dinenage
SHUT The HSBC bank in Lee-on-the-Solent is one of several which has been closed recently. Inset, MP Caroline Dinenage

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MP CAROLINE Dinenage has met with bank officials to question them over the announcements of bank closures.

The Gosport MP met with the head of UK regional public affairs at RBS to discuss why banks were closing in the area.

Natwest revealed that their Stubbington branch would be closing in the near future leaving the area with just two branches.

She also requested to speak with a HSBC official but was declined.

Ms Dinenage said: ‘I thought it was important that I met with the banks about their closures.

‘During the meeting, they gave the impression that the decision was already done and dusted before they started telling the local residents.

‘But I thought it was really important to try and change that decision and get them in to explain it.

‘I wanted to make sure they understood that decisions like this, albeit with good reasons, do have an effect on the community and their services are valuable to the shopping areas.’

The Natwest Stubbington branch will close on Tuesday, February 10 leaving many customers concerned about the future provision of services.

But during the meeting with Ms Dinenage, Natwest stressed they had arranged for their bank customers to access services at the Post Office instead.

Ms Dineage added: ‘It seems these decisions are made before customers even get to hear of them.

‘I understand that footfall has dropped 32 per cent in the last five years while online and mobile banking is up 232 per cent, forcing banks to make some difficult decisions about the future of their branches.

‘However, I do still feel that they have a moral responsibility to support our communities because they are run by shareholders in the public and it is those shareholders which kept them open during the recession.’

Ms Dinenage said she also wanted to meet with HSBC officials after the closure of their branch in Lee-on-the-Solent in November.

The closure left the area without a bank.

She said: ‘I wanted to meet with HSBC too but they declined.

‘I think their closure, leaving Lee-on-the-Solent with no bank, is unforgiveable and I would have liked to speak to them about it.’