RBS and Natwest responsible for one in three branch closures
The Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest banks were responsible for one in three UK bank branch closures between 2014 and 2015, a campaign group has claimed.
Move Your Money said that the taxpayer-owned bank has shut 385 branches between 2014 and 2015 – making up just over a third of the 1,150 closures across the UK, according to its analysis. Some 165 of these closures were the “last bank in town”, leaving communities without a bank at all, Move Your Money said.
Across all banks, 301 bank closures in 2014 and 2015 were the last bank in town – meaning that RBS and NatWest accounted for more than half of them, according to the analysis.
Fionn Travers-Smith, campaign manager for Move Your Money, said: “Closing branches cuts people off from their own money.”
Jane Howard, managing director of branch banking for RBS and NatWest, said that 80% of its customers are within a three-mile radius of one of its branches, and when the Post Office network is included that rises to 90% of RBS/NatWest customers being within one mile of a place to carry out their everyday banking.
She said branch counter transactions have fallen by 36% since 2010 while online and mobile transactions have increased by more than 300% since 2010.
Ms Howard said that only 9% of the bank’s total transactions now take place in branches, compared with 25% in 2010 and more than half of its customers (53%) actively use mobile phone and online banking.
She said: “Our branches remain the cornerstone of the service we provide to customers and we will continue to have the second largest branch network in the UK.
“We’ve seen our branches changing from places where customers have to go to complete basic transactions to places where our customers can interact with our staff on the big moments and decisions in their lives such as taking out a mortgage, or starting up their own business.
“We’re investing £1 billion over the next few years to refurbish our branch and ATM network, and to improve our online and mobile service so customers can bank where and when it is convenient for them.”