A DECISION by Lloyds Bank to axe its branch in Earlestown has been described as a huge blow for elderly and vulnerable customers.

Conor McGinn, the MP for St Helens North, has  slammed the move, which will see the shopping area lose the bank in March next year.

Earlestown is among 41 branches of Lloyds which will close.

The Unite union said the forthcoming closures of 41 Lloyds Banks and seven Halifax branches - which were announced yesterday - will deny thousands of customers access to vital services and cash, and could lead to 178 job losses.

The bank says it has taken the difficult decision to close in Bridge Street, Earlestown because customers are using it less and accessing banking via alternative means, such as online.

St Helens’ branch is cited as an alternative for Earlestown customers

In a statement, Mr McGinn demanded answers over the decision.

He said: “I am very disappointed that Lloyds Banking Group have announced that their Earlestown branch will be one of 48 to close nationwide.

“This is a huge blow for residents and businesses in Earlestown who bank with them, particularly elderly and vulnerable customers who might find it hard to access viable alternatives.

“I have contacted Lloyds Banking Group to ask for a full explanation of the decision, including clarity on the future of the branch’s workforce and assurances on access to key services and use of the ATM for customers.”

St Helens Star:

Conor McGinn MP

Prescot’s Lloyds bank will also shut in February as part of the nationwide closure plans.

Vim Maru, retail director for Lloyds Banking Group, said: “Like many other businesses, we’ve seen people using our branches less frequently in recent years, and this decline is continuing.

“Our branches remain a fundamental part of how we serve our customers but we need to ensure the size of our branch network reflects the number of customers wanting to use them.”