NatWest to close Seaton branch

PUBLISHED: 08:52 10 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:36 10 December 2014

Sign of the times? Glenn Salter's tongue in cheek newspaper contents bill. Phoo CHRIS CARSON

Sign of the times? Glenn Salter's tongue in cheek newspaper contents bill. Phoo CHRIS CARSON

Archant

Mayor calls on people to write and urge the bank to change its mind

A shock announcement that NatWest is to close its Seaton branch has been greeted with anger and dismay.

The bank revealed last week that it had taken “the difficult decision” to shut its counter service in Fore Street on March 11, blaming lack of use.

A spokeswoman said: “The number of transactions taking place has dropped by 13 per cent and the branch is only open for 22 hours a week.

“Over our whole branch network there has been a 30 per cent drop in branch transactions since 2010 as people do their banking where and when it is convenient for them, whilst online and mobile transactions have grown by over 200 per cent.

“We expect these trends to continue as more and more of our customers bank with us through our mobile app, by online and telephone and through our upgraded ATM network.”

The spokeswoman said a number of factors were taken into account when deciding whether to close a branch. These include the availability of post office services locally

She said: “We have come to an agreement with the local Post Office so that customers can withdraw cash, check balances, and make deposits free of charge. Our local business customers can now also get coinage.

“We are also leaving the ATM behind at the Seaton branch.”

She said they would aim to redeploy the two staff currently employed at the branch.

Seaton Mayor Gaynor Sedgwick said she was “ssurprised and disappointed” at the closure plans.

She told The Herald: “This is a much needed and necessary facility in the town. At a time when Seaton is experiencing regeneration and growth, and there is growing confidence in investing in Seaton, as demonstrated by the new independent and exciting shops and businesses which have opened in the town this year.

“Not everyone wants to bank on line. Customers will, I am sure, transfer their accounts elsewhere because they want to use their local branch to bank and to discuss their finances with friendly staff, face to face.

“I intend to write to NatWest head office to ask them to reconsider and I urge others to do the same.”

Local trader Glenn Salter, a NatWest customer who runs G W Meats in Queen Street, echoed the concerns.

He put up a tongue-in-cheek newspaper contents’ bill outside his shop saying: “Doctor warns man he must take complete rest – so he opens a shop in Seaton.”

Mr Salter said it wasn’t entirely a joke.

“They keep saying Seaton is on the up but if you have a major bank closing it knocks everyone’s confidence and can’t do anything for the shopping centre.”


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