NatWest bank closures: Branches to shut in Newport and Bridgnorth
Two NatWest branches in Shropshire are to shut next year as part of a round of 259 closures announced by owner Royal Bank of Scotland this morning.
Newport's branch will close on May 22, while NatWest Bridgnorth will follow on June 12, the bank has revealed.
RBS, still 72 per cent owned by the taxpayer, is the third this week to announce branch closures and job cuts, following Lloyds and Yorkshire Building Society.
An RBS spokesman said: "More and more of our customers are choosing to do their everyday banking online or on mobile.
"Since 2014 the number of customers using our branches across the UK has fallen by 40 per cent and mobile transactions have increased by 73 per cent over the same period. Over five million customers now use our mobile banking app and one in five only bank with us digitally."
The company said the number of transactions over the counter at Newport have fallen by 28 per cent since 2012, and only 53 people are using the branch in High Street each week. In Bridgnorth's High Street only 65 people a week are coming into the branch.
It added that 61 per cent of Newport customers and 57 per cent of those in Bridgnorth do their banking digitally.
The spokesman added: "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."
However, union Unite described the move as a "betrayal" and ripped into the Government for allowing the closures to proceed.
The union's national officer Rob MacGregor also said that the move could effectively signal the end of banking in branches.
He added: "The Royal Bank of Scotland has decided to decimate its bank branch network.
"Now serious questions need to be asked about whether these closures mark the end of branch network banking.
"This announcement will forever change the face of banking in this country resulting in over a thousand staff losing their jobs and hundreds of high streets without any banking facilities.
"Why is the Government signing off this alarming branch closure programme?"