POLEGATE’S HSBC branch is set to close its doors in December.
The bank has chosen to close the branch in the town’s High Street because it is only open for limited hours during the week and not at weekends. A spokesperson from the bank said customers using the branch had fallen very significantly over the past few years as people opt for ATMs, internet, telephone and mobile banking.
However, Polegate and Willingdon Cllr Stephen Shing said, “I am very disappointed that another bank is moving out of Polegate.
“We do have three banks at the moment but they are planning more houses for Polegate in the future so I don’t think we should be losing facilities like this. It feels as if the facilities are slowly going and this is not a sensible decision for the people of Polegate.”
Cllr Shing said 40 per cent of Polegate’s residents were over the age of 60 – a generation who like to go to their local branch and may be less keen on internet and telephone banking.
Jasmine Gayton, a HSBC customer in Polegate, said, “A lot of very elderly people bank in Polegate and are helped tremendously by the committed staff.
“To expect elderly people to travel some distance to Hailsham or Eastbourne via a limited public transport system is unacceptable.
“This is typical of the bank’s lack of commitment to its customers, placing economics over service.”
An HSBC spokesperson said the decision had not been taken lightly and said, “Our branch network is a very important distribution channel for us and we are investing over £30 million each year on improving and updating it.
“However, we do need to ensure that our branches are in the right locations for our customers.
“On occasions this means that we need to close some branches where customer footfall has fallen dramatically.
“We are working with the small number of customers who use the branch to help them re-organise their finances ahead of the planned closure on December 7.
“There are still banking facilities left in the town and we will not be leaving an ATM once the branch closes as there are over 40 ATM’s within a three-mile radius of Polegate, all of which our customers can use.”
The two members of staff who work in the branch will transfer to our other local branches.