Fears as village set to be left without a bank

NatWest in Billingshurst. Photo courtesy of Google Street View
NatWest in Billingshurst. Photo courtesy of Google Street View

Concerns have been raised that a village will be left without a bank after the announcement two more will close by next summer.

Billingshurst will lose both its NatWest and Lloyds branches as both companies confirmed closures at hundreds of locations across the country.

Royal Bank of Scotland announced it will close 259 NatWest and RBS branches nationwide resulting in 680 job losses after the state-backed lender said more people were choosing to bank online or on mobile.

On its website Lloyds said it would be shutting its branch in Billingshurst in May next year as a ‘majority of customers were using alternative ways to bank’.

The announcements come just weeks after Barclays shut its branch in High Street.

One resident said they were concerned many people in the village who did not use internet or mobile banking and struggled to travel into nearby towns were being left isolated.

Billingshurst is not the only village to be affected.

NatWest will be closing branches in Cranliegh, Storrington and Henfield with the banks expected to shut by mid 2018.

NatWest customers in Henfield will have to travel almost nine miles to their nearest branch in Shoreham.

A spokesman said: “Since 2012 we have seen the way in which people use NatWest Henfield branch change dramatically, with now 86 per cent of customers already banking in other ways locally.

“Transactions in NatWest Henfield branch have reduced by 43 per cent since 2012 with now only 38 customers visiting the branch on a weekly basis. 61 per cent of customers are now choosing to bank digitally with us on a regular basis instead.

“We provide a range of alternative ways to bank, tailored to the needs of our customers and reflective of the way they live their lives.”

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