Historic Rushden high street bank latest victim of closures

The NatWest in Rushden branch started life as the Northamptonshire Union Bank in 1889

Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 10:52 am

Another mainstay of financial services in Rushden High Street has fallen victim to the rise of online banking services and drop in footfall.

NatWest's Rushden branch, a bank since Queen Victoria's reign, will close its doors to customers on March 22, 2022.

It's another blow for personal and business bank customers after an announcement that the town's TSB would be closing next April.The closure means that the town's number of bank branches will be halved by the end of April 2022, leaving HSBC and the Nationwide building society.

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NatWest in High Street, Rushden

Bank bosses said in a message to customers that, with ease of mobile and online banking fewer people are coming into the bank, they had to make some 'tough choices'.

It said: "The way we bank is changing. With the ease of mobile and online banking fewer people are coming into the bank. This means we’ve had to make some tough choices about which can stay open. So, we want to make sure that we keep the branches people are using most.

"Closing a branch is always difficult and not a decision that we ever take lightly. We look at the likely impact on customers. How often customers use the branch - and the transactions they’re making, their banking preferences, where the nearest branch and nearest cash machines are, is there a local Post Office for everyday banking? And all the other banking options - online, mobile, telephone and video banking."

The Rushden branch that celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2013 is one of the 24 branches across England that will close over the coming months.

NatWest Anniversary :Rushden: 125th Anniversary of bank in the High St ...Staff celebrate the 125th anniversary with charity collection for Rushden MIND...Branch manager Lesley Duncan with current and past staff with Rob Aston (Rushden MIND) June 2013

In Rushden, the bank saw a decrease of nearly a half (49 per cent) of counter transactions for personal customers between 2017 and 2019. The branch was used by ten personal customers on a regular basis in 2019 - customers who use branch services at least once a week over a six-month period. In 2019, 59 per cent of personal customers using the branch also chose to use online banking or on a mobile app.

In 2019, the branch saw 147 regular business customers - customers who use the branch at least twelve times over a twelve-month period.

The bank used data up to 2019 to avoid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a factsheet to customers it added: "We completely understand that online banking isn’t right for everyone. Sometimes you want to chat things through with someone. We promise that you’ll still be able to talk to one of our team either on the phone, by video or in one of our other branches."

"Meanwhile, if you’d like to ask us anything or you need extra support, please get in touch with your local director, Nicola Brennan, on 07789 752858 or [email protected]"

NatWest customers will be able to access over the counter banking at the NatWest in Wellingborough, Kettering and Bedford.

Rushden's NatWest branch was opened as the Northamptonshire Union Bank in 1889. In 1920 Northamptonshire Union Bank merged with National Provincial & Union Bank of England - which shortened its name in 1924 to National Provincial Bank.

In 1968 Westminster Bank and National Provincial Bank, along with National Provincial’s subsidiary District Bank, announced their intention to merge. The operations of all three banks were combined over the following eighteen months and they began to trade as National Westminster Bank from January 1, 1970.