Lloyds Banking Group will close a further 44 banks across the UK including the Farnham, Liphook and Alresford branches.

Two branches in Surrey and three in Hampshire will close later this year including Liphook on September 21, Farnham on October 31 and Alresford on November 27.

Lloyds has blamed a drop in customer transactions and an increase of more people using internet banking as the reason behind the closures.

However, consumer advocates for local bank branches say that such closures harm less mobile customers and people who struggle to access internet banking.

Trade unions say that such closures deny vulnerable customers and small businesses of essential services.

In the case of Farnham, the closure notice also comes after plans were submitted to convert its historic Grade II-listed Castle Street premises into a restaurant and “boutique” hotel.

The banking giant has had a branch in Farnham for more than a century, and has been located at 75 Castle Street since 1919. But it now looks set to follow NatWest and HSBC in departing the town when its current lease expires.

The closure of the Liphook Lloyds branch, the village's last remaining bank branch, will leave Haslemere and Liphook without a single bank between them.

It will also see Liphook village centre stripped of its last remaining cash machine – echoing the situation in Haslemere town centre after the closure of its West Street post office in May.

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