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Bank blames closure on drastic drop in visitors

Malvern Editorial 16th Apr, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

NATWEST in Malvern Link is set to close after the number of people using the branch has nearly halved in recent years.

The outlet on Worcester Road, which is owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), is one of 44 closures to be announced this year leading Unite – Britain’s biggest union – to launch a scathing attack on the firm.

Rob Macgregor, Unite national officer, said: “This is a stealth attack on local communities by bailed out RBS. Taxpayers have a right to be angry that RBS has quietly embarked on a major programme of branch closures.

“While RBS senior executives get millions of pounds in payouts, there are communities up and down the country being denied access to a local bank. George Osborne, whose own constituency is affected, should intervene and demand that RBS rethinks these decisions.

“There has been no proper consultation with customers in advance of the announced closures and there is a real fear that these closures will hurt the communities affected.”

A NatWest spokeswoman said the number of people using the Malvern Link branch had declined by 45 per cent in recent years. Figures show only 21 regular visitors use the outlet which is open 12 hours a week – less than two people every hour.

The firm has arranged for customers to pay bills and withdraw cash from their accounts at the post office several hundred yards up the road and has lifted restrictions for basic account holders to use ATMs from other banks.

The spokeswoman could not confirm if any jobs would be lost when the branch closes on June 18 but said existing staff will be redeployed other branches where possible and stressed compulsory redundancies would be kept to a minimum.

“More and more of our customers are using alternative ways to bank with us, such as online and telephone banking, or using their mobile phone. As a result, we’ve seen the number of people using the Malvern Link branch fall.

“We’ve advised staff and we’re writing to our customers to make them aware of the different ways they can bank with us. If customers are concerned about how this will impact their banking, they can go into the branch where staff will be happy to discuss the alternative options available.”

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