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  1. ITV Report

Anger as Suffolk town's last bank closes

Three banks have disappeared in three years. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Three years ago the pretty market town of Halesworth in Suffolk had three banks - now it does not even have a 24 hour cash machine.

And that is a problem in a town where 42% of people are over 65. Locals accuse the banks of abandoning them, but the banks say their branches were being under used.

  • Click below for Natalie Gray's report

Barclays, where for years shoppers took out cash and traders paid in their takings, is now boarded up. Its cash dispenser no longer works. Locals are furious at losing the last bank in town.

Barclays closed in November. Lloyds Bank closed in September . Nat West and HSBC have also gone.

Councillor Jill Reece says it is madness especially as this town of about 5,000 people is expected to grow to nearer 6,000 in the next few years.

"What I personally find annoying," said Cllr Reece "Is when I am sitting indoors and there's the adverts for banks saying we're behind you, we're beside you , we're on top of you, we're helpful. And we haven't got any! It just doesn't seem fair."

There is a cash machine at the hardware store. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The town does not even boast a 24-hour cash machine. There is an ATM along with a post office in Coopers Hardware Store.

But at Christmas there were 30 people in the queue desperate to get cash out before the shop closed at 5.30pm.

David Patrick runs the local newsagents. He's introduced a cash back service to try to help people with their needs.

"They've just decided to abandon Halesworth," he said. "Barclays have and Lloyds have gone and HSBC went a few years before.

"It's not good for the older folks because they haven't got the facilities to jump on a bus and go to the next bank and they haven't got computers a lot of them."

Barclays say the closure was not a decision that was taken lightly and customers can withdraw cash and pay in cheques at the town's post office.

Barclays said only 217 people were exclusively using the branch for all their banking. Seventy per cent of customers preferred to do their banking online or by telephone.

But there is some good news. Three times a week Lloyds bring in a mobile bank.

The problem is not unique to Halesworth. Across the country 6,000 bank branches have closed since 2010 and there are plans to shut many more.