doc

THE Co-operative Bank has been urged to reconsider plans to close its Albert Road branch in Colne by Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson.

He said it would be too much to ask customers to travel to Burnley to access services.

Colne resident Mr Stephenson warned many might defect to other banks if the closure went ahead.

He was told of the closure plan by the Co-op’s Head of Branch Network Paul Denton who said it was needed to return the loss-making bank to a position of strength.

Staff at the Colne branch have been put into a period of consultation.

Tory backbencher Mr Stephenson said, “This is extremely disappointing news.

“We all know that the Co-op has been going through tough times of late but their Colne customers should not be the ones that have to suffer as they try and get back on track.

“I urge the Co-op to think again.

“The Co-op is held in high regard in this part of the world but people from around Colne cannot be expected to stick with a bank if the nearest branch is going to be all the way in Burnley.”

Pendle council Leader Joe Cooney said: “I am disappointed to see the Co-op Bank proposing to leave Colne.

“Residents now face the inconvenience of having to travel all the way to Burnley. I urge them to change their minds “ Mr Denton told Mr Stephenson the closure was essential ‘to deliver the Co-operative Bank’s business plan and return the bank to a position of strength’.

He added:”This decision has not been taken lightly and we appreciate that the closure of our branch will be disappointing for both customers and colleagues.

“As our nearest alternative branch is in Burnley we will be contacting our customers prior to the closure to provide further details about the alternative ways for servicing their accounts.

“As we re-focus our business we will be investing in self-service and digital channels in order to provide our customers with new ways to service their accounts.

“We are confident that every customer contacting us through any of our channels will continue to receive a warm welcome.”

Mr Denton added that the Co-op bank management were in consultation with bank staff and its trades unions to support workers at the branch.