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NatWest plan to close Haverhill branch ‘short sighted’

NatWest on High Street, Haverhill Picture: Mecha Morton
NatWest on High Street, Haverhill Picture: Mecha Morton

A decision by NatWest bank to close its Haverhill branch has been branded as ‘short sighted’.

The bank announced last week that it would be writing to customers about the closure, which it blames on an increasing in online banking.

Haverhill Chamber of Commerce chairman Paul Donno
Haverhill Chamber of Commerce chairman Paul Donno

But Haverhill Chamber of Commerce chairman Paul Donno, an accountant and NatWest customer, said: “I think that’s very short sighted of NatWest in a town that’s growing, with 4,000 houses on the way.

“I think they’ve left a great opening for the likes of Santander.”

He said he often advised clients to bank with NatWest but would have to reconsider banking with them.

A NatWest spokesman said: “Between 2010 and 2015 mobile and online transactions increased by over 400 per cent and mobile transactions alone have increased by 1,350 per cent.

“Since 2011 we have seen the number of transactions in the Haverhill branch decline by 46 per cent.”

However, Mr Donno said: “When they cut their hours you see people queuing down the High Street to get in, so there’s obviously a requirement to be in Haverhill.

“What about retailers, when they’re dealing with cash? NatWest will say the Post Office can deal with that, but the Post Office is moving branches out of towns so can we rely on that?”

NatWest has an arrangement with Post Offices NatWest for paying in and out and for business customers to get change.

The bank says it has created new roles to help with the closure including ‘Natwest TechXpert’ offering ‘training and support with digital skills’ until the branch closes on October 2.

There will also be a ‘community banker’ to help with banking services, financial plans and ‘accessing the right banking options’ who is able to meet customers in ‘community locations’ or at home.

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