Local MP David Davies has met NatWest to discuss the bank’s decision to close the Monmouth branch.
Mr Davies raised numerous concerns with Mike German, senior NatWest executive responsible for customer distribution, following last month’s announcement that the branch will shut on 3 October.
The news comes just one year after opening hours were cut to save money. NatWest is citing a radical shift in the use of digital banking for the closure, adding the Monmouth branch has seen a 37 per cent decline in transactions since 2011.
A NatWest customer himself, Mr Davies said he remained disappointed by the bank’s move, describing it as a “blow” to residents and businesses.
But he welcomed the package of measures being put in place to aid customers. These include a mobile bank, which will visit Monmouth once a week on a Monday morning for one hour, and a new ‘Community Banker’ who will serve the local area to provide advice and support.
Precise location and timings for the mobile bank have yet to be confirmed.
“To some extent, we have all played a part in the demise of high street branches,” said Mr Davies.
“The way people manage their money is under a major revolution, with mobile banking applications making it easier than ever to conduct transactions at the touch of a button.
“I’m mainly concerned about older customers and shops. Not everyone is comfortable or familiar with using online or mobile banking, while many small businesses still rely on over-the-counter services.
“I was therefore pleased to receive assurances from NatWest that the majority of banking needs, such as paying in or withdrawing cash, can be dealt with nationally by the Post Office.
“Furthermore, I was impressed to hear a non-automated and designated call centre has been established for customers in Wales.”
NatWest has also created a specialist taskforce of ‘TechXperts’ to offer digital skills training and will be holding various community education events, including scam awareness and how to stay safe online.
58.9 per cent of customers in Monmouth already use digital banking options, according to the bank.
*NatWest Cymru Call Centre (bi-lingual) 0345 302 0774. Available Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 4pm. Phoning outside these hours will default to the national customer number.*