December 11 was a very bad and sad day for the residents of Market Rasen. It was the day when HSBC vacated Market Rasen.
A bad day for business, community and personal customers alike. A bad day for our high street.
We have now had two mainstream banks leave our high street within a very short space of time.
It was also the last day to see Jane Brothwell behind the Market Rasen counter after more than 38 years service to the public. A big thank you to Jane.
I remember the Midland Bank – it always will be the Midland to me – nearly 60 years ago when I was a boy.
My parents were licensees of The White Swan and would send me to the bank with the takings and to collect change for the till.
During that time, we have seen lots of what are now household names as manager.
There was Clive Newstead, Frank Hudson, Ben Williams, Jim Watson, Tim Larter, Ian Bowes and Pat King to name but a few. There are probably others I have omitted.
In the early days, the manager always lived above the bank in the Bank House.
I do appreciate things have moved on in terms of how the majority of people use their bank.
John Platt, the senior service administrator at the Lincoln branch and the man tasked with closure, tells me that there has been a 40 per cent drop in customer use over the last two years.
He also said that plans were advanced to enable the local post offices to give a higher level of service to reduce the affect of the closure.
John said that Market Rasen was the only branch within the local region to be closed.
I do wonder if the closure had been delayed a while, whether business may have increased with the closure, firstly, of NatWest. Perhaps, in time, its customers would have moved across.
Jane recalls that when she started 38 years ago, there were about 13 members of staff.
I guess they would have dealt with everything from banking, mortgages, investments and loans, to insurance and currency.
Gradually over the years, that has been eroded and those services have became more specialised.
Everything now seems to be covered in regulation and compliance, or, worse still, centralised.
The Market Rasen branch was downgraded and lost its manager some years ago, finishing life with two full-time equivalent staff.
As I said, December 11 was a bad day for Market Rasen.