as Highbridge's last bank is to shut down this summer
last remaining bank is to shut down this summer following a sharp
decline in its number of customers, it has been announced this
branch in Huntspill Road, pictured here, will close for the final
time on 25th July, ending a long history of banking in the town.
"The number of customers using this branch has dropped by
nearly a fifth over the last few years," a spokeswoman for
the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, which owns NatWest, told Burnham-On-Sea.com.
branch is only open for 14.5 hours a week and there are only 30
customers who regularly use this branch each week."
closure ends a long history of banking at the site. The building
is part of the Highbridge Heritage Trail and a sign on its side
states that it was built as Stuckey's Bank in 1877.
and Highbridge Mayor Cllr Martin Cox, right, told Burnham-On-Sea.com
this week: "It is a great shame and quite a shock that Highbridge's
last bank is closing. It's the end of an era for the town."
people in Highbridge will have used this bank over the years,
but times change and the way we use banks is different now to
how it used to be. Highbridge still has many shops and businesses,
though, and the heart of the town is still alive."
MP Tessa Munt added: "It's a great shame to hear about the
closure of the town's last bank and a big disappointment given
that jobs will be going. We can but hope that someone will take
on the property and do something positive with it - it's a lovely
old building in a prominent location."
The NatWest spokeswoman added: "Over our whole branch network
there has been a 30% drop in branch transactions since 2010 as
people do their banking when and where it is convenient for them,
such as by telephone, in Post Offices and online."
have an arrangement with the local Post Office, which is near
the branch, that allows our customers to withdraw cash, check
balances and pay bills free of charge."
She added: "For customers who have basic bank accounts with
the Highbridge branch, they will have their restrictions lifted
and will be able to use ATMs from other banks in the area. There
are four NatWest ATMs within a three mile distance of the branch."
"The nearest NatWest branch is 1.9 miles away in Burnham-On-Sea
and were significantly investing in its refurbishment in
2014 to improve the service we offer customers. This will include
installing new technology and other improvements that will allow
our staff to better serve our customers."
"Weve advised staff and were writing to our customers
to make them aware of the closure and the different ways they
can still bank with us. If customers are concerned about how this
will impact their banking, they can go into the branch where staff
will be happy to discuss the options available."
The branch closure comes after RBS said in February it planned
to slash costs by more than £5 billion over the next three
to four years after slumping into the red by £8.2 billion
union Unite has accused RBS of "turning its back on local
communities" and urged the Government to intervene.
Rob Macgregor, Unite national officer, said: "Taxpayers
have a right to be angry that RBS has quietly embarked on a major
programme of branch closures. While RBS senior executives get
millions of pounds in payouts, there are communities up and down
the country being denied access to a local bank."
Campaign group Move Your Money said RBS has "consistently
undermined the interests of its customers and wider society since
being bailed out in 2008".
The group's campaign director Charlotte Webster said: "It's
no surprise to see the bank let down its customers once again
by upping sticks - even where it's promised not to do so. Banks
of this scale just can't be trusted to take its customers' needs
into account, even when the only reason it's still around is because
of our support."
Since 2000, NatWest has been a part of The Royal Bank of Scotland
Group, ranked among the top 10 largest banks in the world by assets.