LLOYDS bank in Bellingham has announced that it will close next year, leaving North Tyne residents having to travel to Hexham to reach their nearest bank.

The announcement comes a year after Barclays Bank in Bellingham closed.

Customers of the Lloyds Bellingham branch were sent letters last week from bank manager for the Bellingham and Hexham branches, Paul Carey, which explained the decision to close in March.

The letter apologises for any inconvenience and informs customers that they will be able to use Lloyds in Hexham, or banking facilities at the post office in Bellingham.

A Lloyds Bank spokesman said: “This branch has been identified for closure because of the changing way customers choose to bank with us, which has resulted in customers using it less often.

“The majority of customers also now regularly use alternative branches or use other ways to bank such as online and telephone baking.

“We are also investing in a new fleet of mobile branches to help customers in more rural communities.”

One of the new mobile branches will visit Bellingham with details available before the changes.

The Bellingham branch was already only open three days per week, two of them until only 1pm.

Customers have been told that they will not need to take any action, as their account numbers and sort codes will stay the same and standing orders, direct debits, cards and pins will continue.