PERPLEXED VILLAGERS have accused NatWest bank bosses of “daylight robbery” after it was revealed the branch on Uppermill High Street will no longer open on Wednesdays – market day.
The closure starts at Saddleworth’s only bank on May 16, alongside the branch opening later on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with new times set from 9.30am to 4.30pm.
One upset business owner, who has banked at NatWest for more the 20 years, said: “By closing midweek the bank is committing a form of daylight robbery preventing us from completing transactions.
“If they go ahead with this plan they will lose all our business to the next closest bank, Barclays in Lees.”
Councillor Neil Allsopp, chair of Saddleworth Parish Council, said: “The Uppermill branch of NatWest is a vital asset to the residents and businesses of Saddleworth.
“We recently lost Saturday opening at this branch and I’m totally opposed to any reduction in services or opening hours.”
He added: “I strongly urge NatWest to reconsider. I request they consult the Parish Council, business owners, our MP and Oldham Council before any action is considered or taken.
“The people of Saddleworth have supported NatWest for generations. We deserve better.”
OMBC councillor John McCann said: “I’m completely gobsmacked by the decision.
“It seems the world is run by mad accountants only interested in the bottom line and to hell with social responsibility, history or customer care.
“There are some substantial businesses in Saddleworth, many with a notable cash element, and these will be greatly inconvenienced along with the many people who come into Uppermill for the market and to bank.
“The decision is not only irresponsible but stupid as Wednesday is Uppermill’s busiest day.”
Parish Councillor Pam Byrne, a NatWest customer, said: “Wednesday is a most unfortunate day to close. The fact is they have excellent staff and are busy all the time.”
A spokesman for NatWest said: “Banking has changed significantly over the last few years and the way our customers want to interact with us is also changing.
“We have to continually adapt to meet our customers’ needs and to ensure we remain viable and relevant both now and in the future.
“We review our branch network regularly to make sure the services we provide are appropriate for each local community, based on our customers’ usage and other ways to bank in the local area.”
NatWest and TSB have both shut branches in bottom Mossley in the last 20 years and the NatWest in Uppermill is Saddleworth’s last remaining bank.
DO you agree with the bank’s plan to close on market day? If not, what day would you suggest?
Email your thoughts to email@example.com or send a letter to BANK CLOSURE, Saddleworth Independent, 5 Kinders Crescent, Greenfield, Saddleworth OL3 7JQ.