BANK bosses are being urged not to 'turn their backs' on Malmesbury after Lloyds announced that its mobile bank visits will end in May.

Mayor Gavin Grant has written to Lloyds' CEO to persuade them to continue the mobile service in Malmesbury while plans to start a community banking hub get underway.

The Lloyds bus - which parks outside Malmesbury Town Hall every other Wednesday - is the only in person banking service left in town as the Lloyds, HSBC and Barclays branches have all disappeared from the high street over the last few years.

After the Lloyds Malmesbury branch closed in 2020 it was agreed that a mobile bank would visit the town twice a month so that residents could continue to have a place to talk to their finances about in person.

The same bus also visits Tetbury, Fairford, Cricklade, Calne and Dursley. 

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Lloyds' mobile bank visiting Malmesbury on Wednesday, January 24Lloyds' mobile bank visiting Malmesbury on Wednesday, January 24 (Image: Camilla Foster)
This service has supported many residents who do not have access to the internet or do not feel comfortable using online banking.

Cllr Grant said that the withdrawal of banks from Malmesbury has not only affected cash users, but has also had wider implications on the town's businesses.

If residents want to deposit or withdraw cash in the high street they have to join a long queue at Post Office or go to the Co-op which both often run out of cash during busy periods.

Cllr Grant said: "Cash is still a significant part of trade in Malmesbury.

"For example, small business owners need somewhere to deposit large amounts of cash at the end of the working day. 

"I am determined that the banks don't turn their backs on us.

"Other organisations are having to pick up the bank's responsibilities which is not right.

"The lack of banks and cash is putting another barrier in the way of people wanting to open businesses.

"It is ironic that Wiltshire Council are offering people money to open businesses on our high street at the exact same time as a fundamental support mechanism for businesses, the banks themselves, are walking away from it."

The issue was discussed at a town council meeting at Malmesbury Town Hall on Tuesday, January 16.

Councillors decided to look into the possibility of setting up a community banking hub.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Lloyds' mobile branch parked outside Malmesbury Town Hall Lloyds' mobile branch parked outside Malmesbury Town Hall (Image: Camilla Foster)

During the meeting, Cllr Campbell Ritchie said: "We cannot control what a private company does but Lloyds are reducing an already impoverished banking service, and in the process will exclude even more residents and businesses from adequate access to banking, which is very concerning. 

"I am pleased that we will try our best to get a community banking hub in Malmesbury and, before then, to get Lloyds to at least delay its decision until one can be established."

Councillors agreed that Malmesbury needs a local banking facility where residents can deposit checks, withdraw money and set up appointments where they can discuss their finances in person.

Cllr Grant suggested that the banks could collaborate together and take over an empty shop unit or a public building in town.

He said: "The banks could take over a building to set up a banking hub and share the responsibility of staffing it and operating it.

"It is a question of the will to do it.

"From their point of view it is easier to turn their backs on us and wash their hands of us but that is not acceptable.

"These banks have a duty of care and a responsibility to Malmesbury and its surrounding area."