Published: July 26, 2014
Highbridge's last bank closes its doors after 137-year history

Highbridge's last remaining bank shut down on Friday (July 25th), ending a long history of banking in the town.

NatWest's branch in the town, pictured, closed for the final time following a sharp decline in the number of its customers.

"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.

"The branch has only been open for 14.5 hours a week recently and there were only 30 customers who regularly used the branch each week."

The 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.

Burnham and Highbridge Mayor Cllr Martin Cox, right, said: "It is a great shame and the end of an era for the town."

"Many 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."

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."

"We 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 we’re 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."

News of the closure was first announced in May this year, as we reported here.


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