Two local branches of NatWest bank are set to close in 2018.
The company announced today that the Battle branch, on High Street, will close its doors to customers on May 24, 2018, and the Rye branch, on High Street, will shut a month later, on June 21, 2018.
Nationally, 197 NatWest sites are set to close across England and Wales, as well as 62 branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
A NatWest spokesman said: “Since 2012 we have seen the way in which people use NatWest Battle branch change dramatically, with now 88 per cent of customers already banking in other ways locally. Transactions in NatWest Battle branch have reduced by 40 per cent since 2012 with now only 40 customers visiting the branch on a weekly basis.
“Sixty-two per cent of customers are now choosing to bank digitally with us on a regular basis instead.
“Since 2012 we have seen the way in which people use NatWest Rye branch change dramatically, with now 86 per cent of customers already banking in other ways locally. Transactions in NatWest Rye branch have reduced by 38 per cent since 2012 with now only 58 customers visiting the branch on a weekly basis.
“Fifty-six per cent of customers are now choosing to bank digitally with us on a regular basis instead.
“We provide our customers with more ways to bank than ever before – customers can choose from a range of digital, face-to-face and local options. The way people bank with us has changed radically over the last few years: since 2014, the number of customers using our branches across the UK has fallen by 40 per cent. During the same period mobile transactions have increased by 73 per cent, and in the first half of 2017, there were 1.1 billion mobile and online transactions carried out by our customers – an increase of 41 per cent since 2014.
“We are communicating with our customers affected by the closure and proactively contacting vulnerable customers and regular branch users. We have extended the time between announcing our decision and the branch closure to six months; this has been done so that we can ensure our customers have enough time to consider the right banking options for them and to give us time to support them one-to-one during the transition.
“We are committed to ensuring our customers and communities are able to continue accessing quality banking services.
“As part of this, our new community banker provides customers with personal assistance and support to access our non-cash services, as well as help with achieving their financial plans and goals – replicating many of the services available in our branches. Our community bankers will get to know the local community, engage with local groups and provide training and education on issues such as fraud and scams protection in the local area.
“We know that not all of our customers are comfortable or familiar with using online or mobile banking, so we have created a new specialist taskforce of NatWest TechXperts who will be dedicated to supporting our customers with training and support with digital skills until the branch closes.
“We are following the Access to Banking Standard and we have made our decision after careful consideration of a wide range of factors including changes in customer usage of the branch over a long period of time; how often customers are using the branch and the types of transactions they undertake; the number of customers who only bank via the branch; and the other ways our customers can bank locally.”