The closing dates for the branches of NatWest in Totnes, Dartmouth and Teignmouth have been revealed.
The Totnes branch will close on May 21 next year, the Dartmouth branch will close on June 11 next year and the Teignmouth branch will close on June 28 next year.
NatWest has announced plans to axe 259 branches across the country including 14 in Devon: Axminster, Okehampton, Crediton, the University of Exeter campus, Sidmouth, Teignmouth, Bideford, Holsworthy, Ilfracombe, South Molton, Crownhill in Plymouth, Totnes, Dartmouth and Plympton. The move will result in 680 job losses.
The closures have been blamed on the way people bank changing radically over the last few years, with customers being able to choose from a range of digital, face-to-face and local options.
Since 2014, the number of customers using NatWest’s branches across the UK has fallen by 40 per cent.
During the same period, mobile transactions have increased by 73 per cent.
In the first half of 2017, there were 1.1billion mobile and online transactions carried out by NatWest customers – an increase of 41 per cent since 2014.
In Totnes, NatWest has seen a ‘dramatic change’ in the way people use the branch since 2012, with 89 per cent of customers already banking in other ways locally. Transactions have reduced by 23 per cent since 2012 and only 84 customers visit the branch on a weekly basis. Instead, 61 per cent of customers are choosing to bank digitally with NatWest on a regular basis.
In Dartmouth, there has also been a dramatic change since 2012, with 88 per cent of customers already banking in other ways locally. Transactions in the branch have reduced by 26 per cent since 2012 with only 78 customers visiting the branch weekly and 59 per cent of customers choosing to bank digitally instead.
In Teignmouth, 86 per cent of customers are banking in other ways. Transactions in the branch have reduced by 35 per cent since 2012, 84 customers visit the branch weekly and 55 per cent of customers are banking digitally on a regular basis.
A spokesman for NatWest said: “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.”
NatWest said new community bankers would provide customers with personal assistance and support to access non-cash services, as well as help with achieving financial plans and goals, replicating many of the services available in branches.
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.
A new specialist taskforce of TechXperts will be dedicated to supporting customers with training and support with digital skills until the branch closes.
The spokesman added: “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.
“We provide a range of alternative ways to bank. These include: online and mobile; telephony; video banking; Post Office; ATMs; mobile branch; community banker; TechXpert; and other branches.”
The Paignton branch is 5.7 miles from Totnes and 7.8 miles from Dartmouth. The nearest branch to Teignmouth is in Newton Abbot, 6.4 miles away.
Source: Devon live