John Healey: Time for new checks and balances over bank branch closures

WE did not have a happy New Year in Wath-upon-Dearne. In January, within a week, HSBC and Yorkshire Bank announced they were shutting, leaving no bank in this proud Dearne Valley village.

Wath is known as South Yorkshire’s ‘Queen of Villages’, though with 12,000 residents and serving the wider Dearne, it is more town than village. People rightly reacted with concern and anger, with more than 1,200 people signing my petition against the closures. Wath is one of 39 branches Yorkshire Bank is closing, while HSBC is axing 62.

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