NatWest decision to close Royston branch slammed on social media

NatWest in Royston will close next summer. Picture: Danny Loo

NatWest in Royston will close next summer. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

NatWest’s decision to close the town’s branch has largely been slammed by the Royston community on social media.

In total, 197 NatWest branches are to close up and down the country, with the bank in High Street included in the cuts.

After the closure on June 11, the nearest branch will be 13 miles away in Letchworth.

The decision was met with a social media backlash when it was announced on Thursday last week, with Crow readers taking to our Facebook page to voice their dismay.

One reader posted: “This surely is a joke! I’ve been a NatWest customer for 15 years and the staff have always been so helpful and lovely. I will leave if they go.”

Another said: “I think all the staff are great and it is a good bank on the whole, but I will be moving our three accounts and the children’s if they close.”

Another commented: “If this is true they will lose so many customers, I will not be going over to Letchworth or Stevenage to use the bank. Bloody ridiculous.”

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And another reflected on services in Royston as a whole, saying: “Town ever-growing and services and leisure facilities continually dwindling.”

A NatWest spokeswoman said: “Since 2012 we have seen the way in which people use NatWest’s Royston branch change dramatically, with now 88 per cent of customers already banking in other ways locally.

“Transactions in NatWest Royston have reduced by 39 per cent since 2012 with now only 66 customers visiting the branch on a weekly basis – 67 per cent of customers are now choosing to bank digitally with us on a regular basis instead.

“We are communicating with our customers affected by the closure and proactively contacting vulnerable customers and regular branch users.

“We have extended the time between announcing our decision and the branch closure to six months, so that we can ensure our customers have enough time to consider the right banking options for them and to give us time to support them one-to-one during the transition.”

She added that new services will also be available to help out those less-equipped when it comes to access services without a branch to access.

“Our new ‘community banker’ provides customers with personal assistance and support to access our non-cash services, as well as help with achieving their financial plans and goals,” she said.

“Our community bankers will get to know the local community, engage with local groups and provide training and education on issues such as fraud and scams protection in the local area.”

The bank has also said that they have created a new specialist taskforce of ‘NatWest techXperts’ for those who arent familiar with mobile banking. These will be dedicated to supporting customers with training and support with digital skills until the branch closes.