Anger as TSB to close Frome town centre's last bank

There is anger and frustration as Frome's last standing bank is set to close later this year. TSB announced on Wednesday (May 8) they will shut 36 bank branches across the UK in an effort to move to a better balance of digital and face-to-face services.

TSB on Cheap Street in Frome town centre will close for the final time on Thursday, September 19. A TSB spokesman said only three per cent of personal customers utilise the branch, alongside seven per cent of business customers.

The latest closure comes as HSBC, NatWest and Barclays shut their branches in Frome town centre last year. TSB's closure will mean the town will have no more banks in the town and residents and business owners will have to travel to neighbouring Midsomer Norton to do face-to-face banking.

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Sarah Dyke, the MP for Somerton and Frome and the Liberal Democrat candidate for the new constituency of Glastonbury and Somerton, has condemned the decision by TSB to close its branch in Frome. She said: “I’m extremely disappointed by news of yet another bank closure in Frome.

“Many vulnerable and elderly residents rely on in-person banking services and the town’s businesses and charities need to be able to deposit cash takings. I’ll be meeting with LINK, Frome Town Council and Prosper Frome as soon as possible to discuss banking provision, including plans for a new deposit service.

“I’m committed to doing everything I can to ensure that the residents and businesses of Frome are able to access the financial services they need.”

A community-led group, Prosper Frome, was set up last year to explore the creation of a financial hub. Prosper Frome applied to LINK, the organisation with responsibility for reviewing the impact on communities of changes to banking provision, but was told that the town didn’t qualify for an official hub, because it had adequate ATM provision and some remaining banks.

LINK emailed Sarah Dyke informing her of a new deposit service for the town. They wrote: “LINK assesses every bank branch closure in the country and can recommend shared banking services if certain criteria are met. I’m writing to let you know that we have visited Frome and it has met the criteria for a new deposit service.”

The service will be operated by Cash Access UK, a not-for-profit company owned and funded by nine major high street banking providers. LINK say it will ensure that local businesses and consumers are able to deposit cash in a way that is convenient for them.

Anna Sabine, Liberal Democrat candidate for Frome and East Somerset, said: “This is an incredibly short-sighted decision by TSB and potentially worrying news for businesses in Frome, many of whom still rely on local banks.

“I know from my conversations with local residents how worried they are about the future of our high streets. It is clear that the Conservatives have no plan to support our high streets to thrive.”

A spokesperson for TSB said: "We have not taken the decision to close our Frome branch lightly, but our customers are banking differently – with a clear shift to digital banking. Customer transactions at the branch have fallen by 54% between December 2019 and December 2023.

"Under new industry arrangements LINK has independently reviewed the impact of this closure on the local community and recommended a deposit solution is deployed in Frome, which will provide consumers and businesses in the town with convenient and accessible ways to deposit cash after the branch closes."