Plans to close a bank in Burntwood will go ahead, despite last ditch talks to save it.
HSBC has announced the decision to shut a number of its branches across the country, including one at Sankey’s Corner.
A meeting between the company’s regional bosses and local councillors had been arranged in a bid to force a rethink.
However, they have now confirmed the initial decision, meaning customers will be forced to travel to access the nearest HSBC branch in Lichfield.
Cllr Sue Woodward admitted she was “disappointed” that the closure will go ahead, but said she had received reassurances on behalf of the local community about next steps.
“It was always going to be the longest of longshots to get a change of heart, although we did make the case for Burntwood as a growth area as strongly as we could,” said Cllr Woodward. “But this decision was a long time coming with the increasing demand for digital and telephone services and a reduction in footfall of around 40%.
“The bank also wanted clarity for staff regarding which branches were likely to close, hence the announcement of the 62 closures this year with secure redeployment options for employees.
“However, HSBC did give reassurances on what happens next and invited me to refer any problems or any hint of promises not being upheld directly to them.”
The bank confirmed that customers would now be sent letters informing them of alternative options, while advice and information sessions will also be held for people who have questions.
HSBC has also vowed to put special focus on vulnerable and elderly customers.
Cllr Woodward added that it was now more important than ever that local people use the town’s Post Offices for cash and cheque deposits.
“Understandably, HSBC would prefer customers to use their other branches,” she said. “But, for the sake of the town and its residents, they are working with the Post Offices to ensure changes in customers’ use are in place and tested out before the May closure.
“We need now to make sure we are using the Post Offices in the town, especially as Hammerwich Post Office has recently closed. The remaining ones are convenient, have the capacity to take on the extra customer transactions and, as a town, we will be helping to secure their long-term viability too.”