NatWest bank branches to close in two Northamptonshire towns

Customers pictured queueing outside the NatWest branch in Brook Street, Raunds, in January 2011
Customers pictured queueing outside the NatWest branch in Brook Street, Raunds, in January 2011

Branches of NatWest bank will close in two Northamptonshire towns later this year.

The branches, in Thrapston and Raunds, will close in the first week of December because of a falling number of people who use them.

A NatWest spokesman said: “The branches are each open for eight hours per week, and there are only, on average, 20 customers using each of these branches on a weekly basis.”

NatWest says a number of bank transactions will be able to be carried out at local Post Offices. Customers of the branches will also have restrictions on ATM usage lifted.

Anyone concerned about how the closures will affect them can go into the branch where staff will discuss alternative ways to do their banking with NatWest.

The MP for Thrapston and Raunds, Andy Sawford, said he was saddened to hear the news from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which owns NatWest, but pledged to try to persuade RBS to reverse its decision.

He said: “While I understand that the Thrapston branch is currently only open for 8 hours a week and there is still another bank in the town, the NatWest in Raunds is the only remaining bank on the high street, since Barclays closed some time ago.”

Mr Sawford said he understood the internet had changed the way people bank but said the closures would “strip away a crucial set of services from those in our community who bank at the branch, including both personal and business customers”.

He added: “There are many residents and businesses in Raunds and Thrapston who don’t use internet banking and may not have access to it. They will now have to travel to access banking services.

“I am particularly concerned about the impact this will have on older residents and on those who do not have easy access to transport.

“I think that the banks have a duty to provide services to all of their customers, especially in those towns where they have had a longstanding presence and where they operate the only bank branch in that locality. Unless they do this, we are in danger of moving towards a situation where many ordinary people will not be able to use a bank account.

“I will be contacting RBS to press them to reconsider these decisions”.