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Highbridge's last bank set to close
THE last bank in Highbridge will close in July after bosses reported a drop in customer numbers.
Chiefs at the Royal Bank of Scotland, which owns NatWest, have announced their “difficult decision” to close the Huntspill Road branch on July 25.
A spokesman said: “The number of customers using the branch has dropped by nearly a fifth in the last few years as more and more use alternative ways of banking with us – by phone, in Post Offices, by app and online.
“The branch only opens 14.5 hours a week and only 30 customers regularly use it each week.”
Burnham and Highbridge Mayor Martin Cox said: “It’s sad. Certain things make a community and one of them is having a bank.
“It will be harder for people who find it difficult getting around or don’t use internet banking now the Highbridge bank has closed.
“Perhaps the Post Office can look at picking up some of the services.”
On the Weekly News Facebook page Tina Gray commented: “The post office is already under strain due to demand, and as it stands cannot take on any more. It’s unfair on the lovely staff there.”
The building, on the Highbridge Heritage Trial, was built as Stuckey’s Bank in 1877, and it is not known what it will be used for after the bank closes.
RBS says it has an arrangement with the local post office, allowing customers to withdraw cash, check balances and pay bills free of charge.
Customers who have basic bank accounts with the Highbridge branch will be able to use ATMs from other banks in the area.
The RBS spokesman said: “The nearest NatWest branch is 1.9 miles away at Burnham and we’re significantly investing in its refurbishment in 2014 to improve the service.
“If customers are concerned about how this will impact their banking they can go into the branch where staff will be happy to discuss the options.”