Bank reassures town traders

BARCLAYS Bank has moved to reassure traders who fear they could lose their town's only bank as it cuts back on opening hours.Members of the business community in Needham Market are worried that Barclays has cut back on its opening hours and worry it is the beginning of scaling the operation down before closing.

BARCLAYS Bank has moved to reassure traders who fear they could lose their town's only bank as it cuts back on opening hours.

Members of the business community in Needham Market are worried that Barclays has cut back on its opening hours and worry it is the beginning of scaling the operation down before closing. The town lost its Lloyds' bank a few years ago, and traders say Lloyds scaled down its operations before closing.

Pat Bellay, a member of the town's business organisation The Luncheon Club, said: "Lloyds closed some years ago and that was a great loss. We do not want to lose Barclays. There are around 500 businesses in the town and half must use them.

"We have a growing business community and it is important that the bank is maintained. It is worrying the reduction in hours and you wonder what there plans are.


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"There used to be personal bankers out the front and you look through the back and see a lot of people. Now there are no personal bankers.

"This is our only bank, the only alternative is the post office. We wonder if the bank is being run down for possible closure. Businesses would be very, very worried if they close.''

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Richard Smith, owner of the butchers in the High Street, said the bank was useful for people and would be missed if it did close down and was critical of the loss of opening hours.

He said the bank also drew people in to the town instead of neighbouring Stowmarket where parking is so much more difficult.

But a spokeswoman for Barclays said: "It is just a little, tiny branch with just two staff in Needham Market. It does not warrant a third member of staff.

"Staff have not always been taking a full lunch break, so we have reduced the hours from 10am to 4pm, taking half an hour off each end of the day, so they get a decent break.

"We must give them a break, but we have no plans to close it. We have had no complaints from customers.''

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