of an era: Signs come down as NatWest shuts in Burnham-On-Sea
Bank wasted no time in taking down the signs outside its branch
in Burnham-On-Sea on Tuesday evening (October 10th) as it closed
for the final time.
controversial decision to shut the branch at the junction of Regent
Street and Victoria Street has drawn criticism from the town's MP
James Heappey, residents and the Chamber of Trade.
minutes after the branch shut, contractors arrived to remove the
bank's signs, as pictured here, and put up a poster advising customers
that the nearest branch is now in Weston.
for the controversial closure were first
reported here by Burnham-On-Sea.com in the Spring.
decision to shut the branch has been attacked by the town's MP and
James Heappey told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "I am angry and
frustrated to hear that NatWest have decided to close their branches
in Cheddar and Burnham-on-Sea. As ever they have cited the rise
in online banking and undoubtedly branches are now used less than
they were before."
NatWest are failing to recognise two important factors. Firstly,
there are many areas served by the branches in Burnham and Cheddar
where broadband connections are poor and online banking less attractive
than it is to those with better connections elsewhere. Secondly,
there is a large elderly community in both places amongst whom the
remaining branch users will be disproportionately concentrated.
Digital exclusion is becoming a real challenge as it affects the
elderly and vulnerable the most."
had an advertising campaign not too long ago about the strength
of its branch network. I'm disappointed they've abandoned that position
and I hope that their customers in the Cheddar and Burnham area
will now abandon them. There are other banks in Cheddar and Burnham."
is important that residents who value the use of a branch switch
their accounts to those that remain so that those banks have commercially
viable branches that escape any further branch closure programmes."
will continue my campaign over access to banking as well as seeking
assurances from NatWest over the future of those whose jobs will
be affected by these unfortunate branch closures."
Chamber of Trade and Commerce said in a statement: "The
Chamber is extremely disappointed by NatWest's decision so soon
after HSBC's closure. The closure of this prominent and long standing
bank in this prime location is a blow to the Town Centre."
accepting that banking trends are changing, face to face access
to financial services for businesses and consumers remains highly
Chamber calls on NatWest to review this decision and on Nationwide,
Lloyds and Barclays to affirm their commitment to Burnham-On-Sea."
Media Relations Manager Sean Palmer said: "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% and mobile transactions alone have increased by 1,350%.
Since 2011 we have seen the number of transactions in the Worle
branch decline by 48%, the Langport branch by 21%, in the Wellington
Somerset branch by 35%, in the Burnham-on-Sea branch by 26% and
in the Cheddar branch by 45%."
customers are actively choosing to bank in different ways, with
60.6% of customers at the Worle branch choosing to use our digital
banking options. In Langport 53% of customers are choosing to use
our digital banking options. In Wellington Somerset 54.6% of customers
are choosing to use our digital banking options. In Burnham-on-Sea
53.4% of customers are choosing to use our digital banking options.
In the Cheddar branch 59.9% of customers are choosing to use our
digital banking options."
"We are communicating with our customers affected by the closures
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
closures to six months. This has been done in order to ensure our
customers have time to consider the right banking options for them.
Unfortunately our lease is expiring on the property in Worle and
therefore we are not able to extend the opening of the branch beyond
the date advised. We will however be proactive in our approach to
ensure that we are able to engage fully with our customers before
the branch closes."
"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 and provide 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 that not all of our customers are comfortable and
familiar with using online or mobile banking, so we have created
a new specialist taskforce of TechXperts who will be dedicated to
supporting our customers with training and support with digital
"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 customers and reflective
of the way they live their lives."
news comes just months after HSBC shut its branch in Burnham-On-Sea's
College Street in January
as part of a nationwide cost-cutting move. HSBC blamed a sharp 28
per cent reduction in customers at the branch for the "difficult
decision" to shut it.