AN MP has hit out at bank bosses for going ahead with closing their branches in Wath.
In January, both HSBC and Yorkshire Bank announced they planned to shut – leaving Wath without a bank.
Since then more than 1,200 people have signed a petition against the closures started by MP John Healey, and he has met senior executives of both banks at his Wath office, including the chairman of Yorkshire Bank.
He told them about the anger and concern many local people had shared with him and made the case for the banks staying open.
The MP even put forward an unusual proposal in a bid to persuade Yorkshire Bank to change their minds, asking the bank to consider a ‘stay of execution’ while he led a community campaign to encourage people to switch their accounts.
But this week Yorkshire Bank confirmed that they were going ahead with the closure, after discussing the idea at a high-level internal meeting.
At their meeting with the MP, HSBC said the decision to shut had already been taken and they would not change their minds.
Mr Healey said: “People are extremely angry at both banks backing out of Wath within weeks of each other.
“Just a few years ago, taxpayers bailed out the banks giving them £500 billion support. Now banks are just turning their backs on the communities they’re supposed to serve.
“Their consultations were just for show – they’d already decided they were backing out of Wath when they told us.
“I expected more of Yorkshire Bank because they’re our local bank, they’ve got roots here and are supposed to be committed to the community.
“I’m worried about the thousands of elderly people who only bank in branch and can’t go online.
“And I’m worried about our local businesses who need somewhere to go to access funding and deposit cash. The number of businesses in Wath has more than doubled in the last five years and I don’t want anything to threaten this prosperity.
“The Post Office just doesn’t offer a good enough alternative.”