The Alton NatWest branch is closing on October 19 after the bank claimed just one personal customer used it on a “regular” basis last year.
It said counter transactions at the branch by personal customers fell by 60 per cent from January 2019 to January 2023, while last year 67 per cent of personal customers using it also used online banking or its mobile app. There were 121 regular business users in 2022.
Asked if closure was part of a strategy to increase profits by removing the need for buildings and staff, rather than a reaction to a drop in customers caused by Covid and technology, a NatWest spokesperson said: “As with many industries, most of our customers are shifting to mobile and online banking, because it’s 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.”
Alton Town Council said: “It is clearly regrettable to see the closure of another bank within the town centre.
“While the council is fully aware of the rationale given by NatWest to justify the closure, we hope that the bank will ensure that customers are not inconvenienced by the decision and that alternative provision can be made available for those who do not use internet or online banking, as well as finding alternative roles for the existing staff.
“Post-Covid there have been a number of changes on our High Street and while other businesses, including banks, have taken the tough decision to close their doors, we have seen a number of new exciting independent ventures open, which are well supported by the community, so we hope that an alternative use can be found for these premises.”