NatWest to shut 43 bank branches across UK

The UK’s second biggest lender said the vast majority of its retail banking services can now be done digitally.

13 October 2022

NatWest has confirmed it is closing 43 bank branches across the UK in the latest move to transition its banking services online.

Several branches in Scotland, including in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, are among the fresh wave of closures.

The UK’s second biggest lender said the vast majority of its retail banking services can be done digitally and it is the quicker and easier way to bank.

Just six jobs are expected to be put at risk as part of the closures, indicating most branch staff will be offered the opportunity to take up a role in a different branch or another part of the business.

NatWest said it will contact its vulnerable customers to provide support following the announcement.

The group acknowledged some customers might be worried by the closure of their local branch, particularly if they are uncomfortable or unable to use online banking, but it will ensure “no-one is left behind”.

A NatWest spokesperson said: “As with many industries, most of our customers are shifting to mobile and online banking because it is faster and easier for people to manage their financial lives.

“We understand and recognise that digital solutions aren’t right for everyone or every situation, and that when we close branches we have to make sure that no-one is left behind.

“We take our responsibility seriously to support the people who face challenges in moving online, so we are investing to provide them with support and alternatives that work for them.”

Several high street banks have said customers are ditching local branches in favour of mobile banking, which is why they have shut their little-used banks.

NatWest said average counter transactions had shrunk by nearly two-thirds in just two years, between January 2019 and January 2022.

It saw a 39% rise in customers using mobile apps during the same period.

But the company stressed is has a helpline to guide customers through setting up online and mobile services, with a shorter waiting time for the over-60s.

It has also invested in its partnership with the Post Office so people can access cash and face-to-face banking services if they cannot do it digitally, the group said.

The latest closures add to the 32 announced back in February, which included 11 of its Royal Bank of Scotland branches.

Most staff were moved to other branches at that time, but 12 jobs were put at risk.

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