Stone is set to lose another bank as Natwest confirms an October closure date for their Stone Branch.
The bank closure comes along with 6 other branches across the their North Staffordshire region.
The bank have cited declining transactions due to the uptake of online banking as the reason for the closure and have 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 Stone Staffordshire branch decline by 23%. These customers are actively choosing to bank in different ways, with 59.0% of customers choosing to use our digital banking options.”
The bank have confirmed the next steps for customers affected:
“We are communicating with our customers affected by the closure 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 closure to six months. This has been done in order to ensure our customers have time to consider the right banking options for them.
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 NatWest TechXperts who will be dedicated to supporting our customers with training and support with digital skills.
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. These include:
- Online and mobile: we are committed to educating customers on how to use these channels securely and simply.
- Telephony: our customers can contact us over the phone, via web-chat and social media. Our contact centres are open 24/7 and teams are trained to answer almost every query at first point of contact. Services available over the phone range from transfers and payments to opening new accounts, financial reviews and support with using digital banking.
- Post Office: We have a national agreement with the Post Office to provide our customers with a range of banking services. Customers can pay money in, take money out, check balances and business customers can get coinage.
- ATMs: There are free to use ATMs within 1 mile of the branch.
- Community Banker: serving in the community and surrounding areas. Community Bankers will provide our customers with personal assistance in accessing the right banking options for their needs, as well as help with achieving their financial plans and goals. They will be able to work flexibly to support customers, including holding customer appointments in community locations and at customer homes where necessary.
- NatWest TechXperts: our experts will offer training and support with digital skills, serving the branch until it closes.
- Other branches: Our nearest branch, Longton Staffs, is 7.0 miles away.”
Only last week the town council provided their support to a planning application to add an internal ramp inside the bank to enable easier access to the bank for customers.
We are now left with 2 banks on the High Street which severely limits the options available to businesses and those who don’t necessarily have access to online forms of banking.
This closure will add more concern around Stone High Street for which the town council have called a meeting about next week. Read More