As of 2004, there is one bank left in Rishton, named the H. S. B. C., There was once 3 banks in the town, as well as building societies. The buildings still remain, but are now used for a variety of trades.
There is of course the Post Office, which should not be forgotten. The post Office was for a long time home to Giro Bank, and during 2003 opened their doors to pay cash against a lot of the existing bank and building society accounts.
At the Western end of Rishton on High Street was the first bank to be built in the town. It was part of the MANCHESTER & COUNTY BANK, Ltd., and the manager in 1935 was G. H. Kay.
Found on the right hand side of High Street travelling towards Blackburn, the banks building was custom built, and still bears the inscription of the Manchester and County Bank in its date stone.
This was still the only bank in Rishton in 1935. By 1947 it had become simply The District Bank, and was a sub branch to the Great Harwood branch.
The Midland Bank was now open in 1947, at 48 High Street, a location which was still being used as a bank at the beginning of 2004. Meanwhile across the street at number 62, the Yorkshire Penny Bank had been opened. It seems the war years had given the banks a chance to expand!
1951 saw little difference, the District bank was still in residence, but this was to change to the Nat West Bank, and was to close during the early 1990's. The building was bought and used as a restaurant way past 2004.
The Yorkshire Penny bank meanwhile was also still going. This later became the TSB bank, but more about this later!
The same can be said for the Midland bank. As mentioned at the start of this page, this is now the longest serving bank in Rishton, although the Midland was taken over by H. S. B. C. during the 1990's during a stock market takeover bid.
In 1995 an electronic cash machine was installed in the exterior wall of the Rishton branch of the TSB. This turned out to be a waste of money, as it was announced 12 months later that the bank was to close.
There was much commotion created in the town about this decision, due in November 1996, with even the local M. P. Greg Pope becoming involved. It was first announced in September of that year, and customers of the bank were concerned that their town would be left with only one bank, after it was announced that their TSB branch was one of 200 branches being investigated for possible closure. And residents in Rishton said that their town needed "new life" rather than businesses shutting down.
Bank officials said that the Rishton TSB was one of a number being examined to see if it warranted investment. But a spokesperson added that it was too early to speculate if it was to close. Rumours were rife in the town which would be left with only the Midland Bank if the TSB shuts its doors.
Mrs Lynn Smalley, of Smalley's Newsagents in High Street (next door) said: "I think there will be a lot of people very angry if the bank closes. "It's always very busy and they even installed a cash machine last year." She added: "We bank with the TSB every day and I wouldn't say it would be a catastrophe for us but what are the community going to have left? "We have a new housing site just being built and a big estate on Station Road and there are a lot of pensioners here. What are they going to do if they can't get to the bank? "We need to breathe new life into the place rather than close buildings down. Rishton doesn't even have a greengrocer any more."
A spokesman for TSB said: "Rishton TSB is one of a number of branches throughout the country that we are looking at for possible closure but it is far too early to speculate. "In 1994 we announced that we would be closing up to 200 branches in the next couple of years and we are investigating many branches in our network which do not warrant investment. "If a decision is taken we always write to our customers."
Hyndburn MP, Greg Pope, wrote to the TSB chairman, but was still waiting a response at the end of October after writing to him two weeks prior asking him to reconsider the decision.
"I had a lot of complaints from constituents angry about the closure of their local bank, I was very concerned people from Rishton would have to travel to Accrington or Great Harwood for a TSB bank. This was an inconvenient for those without transport and the elderly."
What also concerned him was the declining facilities in Rishton and the widespread view that it is the forgotten town of Hyndburn. Mr Pope blamed telephone banking services and a general lack of community feeling from the banking industry for the decision. If the TSB shuts on November 19, there will only be the Midland bank, Giro bank and Post Office left.
"Banks are an integral part of the community as local businesses want to be able to bank their money in their town," added Mr Pope. "There is much more to banks than just making money. They also have an important public service role to play and I'm confident we can get this message across."
ELDERLY bank users in Rishton were "devastated" by the decision to close the town's TSB branch in November 1996. All Customers were told they can transfer their accounts to the bank's Accrington or Great Harwood branches, but both are a bus or car journey away. Many pensioners were considering changing banks when the TSB's High Street branch shuts its doors for the last time.
Jim Clarke, chairman of Rishton Old People's Welfare Association, said: "Devastation would be too light a description." Mr Clarke said: "Certainly older people will not find it easy to get to either place." He suspects some customers will close their accounts with the TSB. "Others especially the older ones are just not sure which way to turn or how to make alternative arrangements," he added.
A spokesman for the Midland Bank said their Rishton branch had already had a number of inquiries from TSB customers about opening accounts with the Midland.
THE news that TSB were to close down their branch in Rishton was to be greeted with dismay. Yet there was a real alternative to the banks in providing financial services within communities. They are called credit unions. There were already a number of credit unions in East Lancashire that provided a savings and loans service that was truly accessible.
Credit unions were run by the community for the benefit of the community. They were mutual organisations which were not concerned with making huge profits for their shareholders, but with providing a service that was convenient and easy to use for local people. Credit unions could sometimes be the only provider of savings and loans services to the large proportion of people who did not even have bank accounts. Perhaps the people of Rishton should have been encouraged to follow the example of the people in towns such as Darwen, Nelson and Burnley and establish a credit union for their community.
Why do smaller towns have to lose banking services?
ANOTHER bank shuts its doors - this time the TSB branch in Rishton - and another nail goes in the coffin of the traditional small-town High Street and community. But while this trend, already mirrored elsewhere in East Lancashire, is directed as much by the hidden hand of customer-choice as it is by the bank bosses trimming overheads, it does not follow that there is no longer a place for banking services outside the larger towns. For while this development may be fuelled by the boom in round-the-clock telephone banking, there is still a lot of actual cash out there that needs to be processed through a hands-on, over-the-counter banking system. The daily takings of the traders in small towns are just one instance.
They need the security of a nearby bank and they are being inconvenienced and exposed to greater risks when the banks pull out and expect them to travel further and for longer to use their services. But if commercial pressures are forcing banks to reduce their outlets, do they need to pull out completely - especially when there is still business to be had and to be done?
If the big banks cannot maintain branches in the smaller towns and suburbs, why not let others act as agents for them? The building societies do and it is obviously worth their while. So why cannot the TSB and others say yes to that idea of service to the customer and the community?
Lancashire Evening Telegraph 1996.