NatWest Bank branch to close in Sleaford in September

NatWest. EMN-170323-151944001
NatWest. EMN-170323-151944001

The NatWest Bank branch in Sleaford is to close in the autumn having seen local customer transactions drop by one third as the company announces it is to close 158 branches nationwide with the loss of 470 jobs.

One member of staff at Sleaford is said to be impacted by this announcement.

A NatWest spokesman said: “We are doing everything we can to support these employees, including seeking redeployment opportunities wherever possible and ensuring that compulsory redundancies are kept to a minimum.”

The closures of 30 RBS and 128 NatWest branches owned by the company this year are said to be due to the way that customers use the bank have “changed radically” – with a switch to people banking online or through apps.

The closures will result in around 470 full-time job losses

RBS is 70 per cent government owned and first warned of job cuts and branch closures last month, announcing annual losses of £7billion.

A spokesperson from RBS said: “We have taken the difficult decision to close the NatWest Sleaford on September 28.

“The way people choose to bank with us has changed radically over the last few years. Between 2010 and 2015, mobile and online transactions have increased by over 400 per cent and mobile transactions alone have increased by 1,350 per cent.”

He said: “Since 2011 we have seen the number of transactions in the Sleaford branch decline by 33 per cent. These customers are actively choosing to bank in different ways, with 64.0 per cent of customers choosing to use our digital banking options and 22.3 per cent already using our telephony services.”

As well as the Sleaford branch, the branches in Newark Road in Lincoln, Bourne and Horncastle are also to go, with the nearest alternative branch for face to face transactions for Sleaford customers being Grantham, 14 miles away.

The spokesman added: “We are communicating with our customers affected by the closure and proactively contacting vulnerable and regular branch customers. We have listened closely to feedback from local communities and have extended the time between announcing our decision and the branch closure to six months. This has been done in order to ensure our customers have time to consider the right banking options for them.”

He said the bank was committed to ensuring customers and communities are able to continue accessing quality banking services, creating a new role - Community Banker - who will serve the local area and provide customers with personal assistance and support accessing the right banking options for their needs.

Knowing not all customers are comfortable and familiar with using online or mobile banking, the bank has created a new specialist taskforce of NatWest TechXpert who will be dedicated to supporting customers with training and support on digital skills.

He said: “We are following the Access to Banking protocol and we have made the decision after careful consideration of a wide range of factors, including regular branch usage and the alternative ways our customers can bank with us. We provide a range of alternative ways to bank, tailored to the needs of our customers and reflective of the way they live their lives.”

Alternative access to banking services include:

* online and mobile;

* Post Office - customers can pay money in, take money out, check balances and business customers can get coinage. (NatWest state there are five Post Offices within three miles of the branch.)

* ATMs - there are 14 free to use ATMs within one mile of the branch.

* Community Banker - Community Bankers will provide customers with personal assistance in accessing the right banking options for their needs, as well as help with achieving their financial plans and goals, holding customer appointments in community locations and at customer homes where necessary.

* NatWest TechXpert - experts will offer training and support with digital skills, serving the branch until it closes.