NATWEST HAS confirmed it will close its Uppermill branch in June 2017 – leaving Saddleworth without any banks.
The writing looked to be on the wall for the NatWest High Street branch after it announced shorter opening hours – including being closed on Wednesdays – earlier this year.
Now, NatWest says it has taken the “difficult decision” to shut the branch in six months’ time and have placed a large notice board in the branch to inform customers.
Following the closure of Barclays Bank branch in Lees in November this year, the closest bank now will be almost 5 miles away in Oldham.
A spokesperson for NatWest said: “We have taken the difficult decision to close the Uppermill branch on 27th June 2017.
“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.
“As a result, we have seen the number of transactions in Uppermill branch declining by 29 per cent since 2011 and 60 per cent of the customers are actively choosing to use online and or mobile banking for their day to day banking needs.
“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.
“We are committed to ensuring our customers and communities are able to continue accessing quality banking services.
“As part of this, we have created a new role – our Community Banker – who will serve the local area, providing customers with personal assistance and support accessing the right banking options for their needs, as well as help with achieving their financial plans and goals.
“We know not all of our customers are comfortable and familiar with using online or mobile banking, so we have created a new specialist taskforce of Digital Experts who will be dedicated to supporting our customers with training and support with digital skills.
“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 communities and reflective of the way our customers live their lives.
- Online and mobile: we are committed to educating customers on how to use these channels securely and simply.
- Telephony: our customers can contact us over the phone, via web-chat and social media. Our contact centres are open 24/7 and teams are trained to answer almost every query at first point of contact.
- Post Office: We have a national agreement with the Post Office, the closest is 0.05 miles away from the branch so that our customers can pay money in, take money out, check balances and business customers can get coinage. There are 5 Post Offices within 2.10 miles of the branch.
- ATMs: We intend to retain our ATM in the local community, and there are also 4 other free to use ATMs within 1 mile of the branch.
- Community Banker: *a new role*, serving in the community and surrounding areas, to provide our customers with personal assistance in accessing the right banking options for their needs, as well as help with achieving their financial plans and goals.
- Digital Expert: *a new role*, serving the branch until it closes, our experts will offer training and support with digital skills.
- Other branches: Our nearest branch Oldham is 4.91 miles away.
“I hope I have managed to explain the reasons for the closure and the mitigating actions that we are taking.”