Two more Shropshire bank branches close

NatWest Bank has closed its doors in Wem – becoming the latest in a series of closures across the county as the Wellington branch was also closing today.

Two more Shropshire bank branches close

The Wem branch closed yesterday, despite concerns being raised about the effect it will have on people in the area, especially the elderly.

The banking giant has described the closure as a "difficult decision", but added there are a number of alternative ways for people in the area to continue to bank with it.

The branch closure is one of several announced by major banks in the region in recent months.

NatWest was also closing its branch in Wellington today and will reduce hours at Bridgnorth from Monday.

The move has been put down to a fall in transactions at the branches.

Meanwhile, HSBC has closed branches in Market Drayton, Chirk, Llanfyllin and Llanfair Caereinion. Whitchurch's Co-operative bank has also closed in recent months.

Councillors in Wem wrote letters to NatWest to express their concern about the closure of the town's branch and asked for the banking firm to reconsider its decision.

It also asked NatWest to think about introducing shorter opening hours at the existing branch or a mobile banking service.

Councillor Rosemary Dodd, mayor of Wem, said: "We asked about a mobile bank and cutting opening hours and they said they are not going to do that at the moment.

"It is well-used and I know businesses in the town are worried as are people who come into town from the countryside. Not everyone does online banking and we have got an ageing population in Wem.

"It is not my bank but I know other councillors have been contacted by people who use it. I think quite a few are transferring to Barclays."

NatWest spokesman Sean Palmer said the Wem branch was being closed because the number of transactions there had reduced by 18 per cent since 2011. In Wellington, he said, the number of transactions had reduced by 23 per cent since 2011.

But Mr Palmer said there were two free to use cash machines within one mile of the Wem branch, and 18 within a mile of Wellington.

He added: "In both cases we have reached an agreement with the local Post Office so that our customers can pay money in, take money out, check balances and business customers can get coinage."

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